Men's golf finishes 9th at Irish Creek

(photo courtesy of MercerBears.com) Thomas Holmes lines up a putt as he would record a +2 on the final day of the tournament to move up five spots for a tie of 52nd place. Holmes and Bears travel next to Chateau Elan for the 2011 Atlantic Sun Championship.

(photo courtesy of MercerBears.com) Thomas Holmes lines up a putt as he would record a +2 on the final day of the tournament to move up five spots for a tie of 52nd place. Holmes and Bears travel next to Chateau Elan for the 2011 Atlantic Sun Championship.

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(photo courtesy of MercerBears.com) Thomas Holmes lines up a putt as he would record a +2 on the final day of the tournament to move up five spots for a tie of 52nd place. Holmes and Bears travel next to Chateau Elan for the 2011 Atlantic Sun Championship.

The last round of the Irish Creek Collegiate was Mercer’s best of the three-day tournament en route to tying for ninth with North Carolina this past weekend. Totaling a 290 on the final day of play, led by freshman Hans Reimers’ 71, the Bears moved up ever so slightly in the final standings in another tournament that featured national caliber competition.
While #17 Duke (844, -8) would run away with the victory over #28 Wake Forest (851, -1), Mercer tied for the fourth best team round on Sunday to tie UNC in the thirteen team tournament. Atlantic Sun conference rival #44 Kennesaw State (866, +14) would take fifth.

“We played a lot better today,” said Mercer head coach Andrew Tredway following Sunday’s effort on MercerBears.com. “I’m proud of the way they bounced back, but we just need to get off to better starts at tournaments,” he added.

Indeed, the Bears will look for better opening rounds from their top five players at the next tournament, the Atlantic Sun Championship next Monday through Wednesday at the Chateau Elan course in Duluth, Ga. Mercer sat in last place following the suspension of the second round at Irish Creek due to thunderstorms.

But if Saturday was moving day at the Masters, Sunday was Mercer’s moving day as all five golfers posted low-round scores for the tournament. Josh Cone (T-20th, +4) had Mercer’s lowest round of the tournament with a second-round 70, nullifying two bogeys with three birdies, while teammate Hans Reimers (T-30th, +8) would collect the best third round with a even-par 71. Reimers would open up the final round with three bogeys on holes 13, 15 and 18, but then collected a trio of birdies on the front nine to clean up his scorecard.

“Josh Cone is putting together such a consistent season this year. I really believe he sees a path where he can continue to grow and improve and we are excited about where he is at,” Tredway said.

Matt Kocolowski (T-41st, +10) was consistent throughout the tournament with a 75-74-74, while Thomas Holmes (T-52nd, +12) and John Gregory Joseph (T-68th, +18) would round out Mercer’s lineup.

Wake Forest’s Lee Bedford was named tournament champion after winning by three strokes with a pair of 69s in the opening two rounds, followed by a three-under 68 on Sunday.

“The guys played smart today and that was the real difference,” Tredway said. “They were picking targets instead of just firing at every pin. There was a huge change in mindset from yesterday,” the coach added.

The Bears now turn their sights to the Atlantic Sun Championship, their final tournament of the season where they hope to upset tournament favorites #43 UNF and #44 Kennesaw State. Last week’s GolfWeek.com rankings have Mercer at #96 in the country behind UNF, Kennesaw State, #74 FGCU, #83 ETSU and #92 Campbell.

“A top 100 program with one junior and the rest sophomores and freshman is pretty good,” the head coach added after checking out the latest rankings. “We just need to keep developing as  a team and using that change in mindset from Saturday to Sunday as a positive learning experience forward. We only have four conference losses this whole season, something that almost no one is aware of, but what happens next week is all that matters. We just need to prepare the best we can and use all of the experiences we have had this year in those three days at Chateau Elan. Anyone can win this thing.”

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