College of Coastal Georgia News
Primm Valley, Nev. - The College of Coastal Georgia men's golf team won perhaps its biggest-ever regular-season tournament Tuesday when the Mariners toppled a strong field to claim the championship at the NAIA Battle at the Primm tournament played at Primm Valley Golf Club.
The Mariners, who entered the tournament ranked No. 2 in the country, figure to climb into the top spot in the national rankings when the next poll is released after winning here just outside of Las Vegas in a tournament that featured several nationally-ranked teams including current No. 1 and perennial power Oklahoma City.
Coastal Georgia, which held a three-shot lead over the top-rated Stars going into the final round of the 54-hole event, came out ahead after Tuesday's closing round when the Mariners posted a 6-under-par 274 score that was the second-lowest round by a team in the final round.
That score enabled the Mariners to shoot 12-under 828 on the par-70 Lakes Course and win by four strokes over Sun Conference rival Keiser and Oklahoma City which finished tied for second with their 832 scores. Keiser matched Coastal Georgia for the low round of the tournament with the 270 it shot on Tuesday to climb into the tie for second on the final scoreboard.
Oklahoma City, which was second behind the Mariners after Monday's play, shot a stroke worse than the Mariners in the third round as the Stars shot 275 and settled for the runner-up spot with the Seahawks.
The Mariners shot 284 in the first round and were in fourth after the opening 18. They carded their 270 in round two to jump to the top of the standings and held onto the top spot in the third round.
"This does rank up there with the biggest team wins not including the national championships," said Coastal Georgia coach Mike Cook who led the Mariners to back-to-back national crowns in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Cook also called the individual championship by Coastal Georgia freshman Eli Scottone of the biggest in program history. Scott, who was tied for the lead after Monday's 36 holes, held onto the top spot with his 2-under 68 score which gave him a 9-under 201 score for the tournament and one-shot victory over teammate Mark David Johnson who finished second with his 202 score. Johnson trailed by a shot going into the final round and also shot 68 over the last 18 holes.
"He played solid, definitely not playing like a freshman," Cook said of Scott.
Scott, who is from Hartwell, shot three sub-par rounds with a 68 in the morning round on Monday and then a 65 in round two before closing with another 68 on Tuesday.
"My game wasn't in the best shape this week," Scott said. "But, I was able to manage my misses in the right spots. By doing that, it allowed me to score really well and I was able to take advantage of the good opportunities when I had them. My putting save me the most this week.
"I loved the course. It was set up well for my game. The greens were very similar to the greens I grew up playing on."
For the Mariners, the victory was the 35th all-time for the program since joining the NAIA for the 2011-12 school year.
It also is the sixth for the team in seven total tournaments this season. With six victories, the Mariners have now won the second-most tournaments in a single-season by a Coastal Georgia team. The 2014-15 team won eight tournaments including the program's second consecutive national title.
The Mariners will close out the regular season April 8-9 at Dalton State's tournament before playing in the Sun Conference tournament and the NAIA national championship tournament.
Also for Coastal Georgia at the Primm, Kyle Kidd finished tied for 21st in the individual standings with a plus-3 213 score that included rounds of 70, 73 and 70. Chip Thompson tied for 32nd at 216 with 79-69-68 and Jackson Lawlor tied for 60th at 221 with 77-71-73.
"We know we are a top ranked team in the country, but we knew we needed to prove ourselves against the No. 1 team, and we did just that," Scott said.
"We started off slow in the first round. It took us a while to get settled in with the wind and different type of greens. We made our adjustments in the last two rounds and were able to take it deep."
Story originally published online at Coastal Georgia Sports.