Mercer’s men’s golf finished sixth at the Atlantic Sun Championship at The Legends at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga. The Bears finished the season ranked 87th in the nation according to golfstat.com, with a 65.694 percent comparative wins percentage.
Sophomore James Beale continued his fantastic play, finishing tied for seventh place overall. His first round of 71 strokes marked his 10th consecutive round where he did not shoot above par, dating back to Feb. 26, when Beale shot a 74.
Freshman Trey Rule shot a 76 to have the second best finish for Mercer on the first day of play. Junior Thomas Holmes, Senior Josh Cone and redshirt sophomore Hans Reimers rounded out the rest of the orange and black’s roster with rounds of 77, 79 and 81 respectively. Rule finished the first day 23rd, while Holmes, Cone and Reimers finished tied for 26th, tied for 37th and tied for 44th. The Bears combined for a shot total of 303 strokes on day one.
The second day of the tournament saw the boys from Macon rise one spot in the standings, finishing in fifth place on the day. The Bears improved their first day shot total by six strokes, finishing with a total of 297. Beale again led Mercer, shooting a two-over-74. Rule and Holmes both stepped up their game, finishing the second round of play with shot totals of 74 as well. Cone shot a 75, four strokes better than his opening round. Reimers also shot a 75.
The final day saw Mercer slip back down to sixth place. Due to wet conditions, play was delayed. When it finally resumed, however, Mercer’s performance was quite reflective of the atmospheric conditions. The Bears shot their tournament-worse round by combining for 314 strokes. Beale again was on the top end of the Bears’ scorecard, totaling 76 strokes in the third round. This brought his tournament total to 221, and into a tie for seventh place, his fourth consecutive top-10 finish. Beale broke into his first top-10 finish back in early March at the Seminole Invitational. He followed that up with a top-five finish at the Linger Longer Invitational before coming in first place at the Irish Creek Invitational three weeks ago.
Rule shot an 80 in the final round, finishing with a three-round total of 230 strokes. Holmes, Cone and Reimers were right behind, finishing the tournament with totals of 233, 234 and 234 respectively.
Collectively, Mercer shot a 914 throughout the championship, finishing ahead of seventh place USC Upstate Trojans by four strokes. The Bears also outpaced Jacksonville, Lipscomb and Belmont.
Unfortunately for Mercer and Head Coach Steve Bradley, the Bears will not participate in postseason play. Their 87th place finish is 17 places out of the top 70 finish required for postseason competition. The other requirement is a winning percentage greater than 50 percent.
With only one graduating senior, Mercer has a lot of young talent and appears to be another program on the rise.