The Mercer men’s golf team recently competed at the AutoTrader Classic at the Berkley Hills Country Club in Duluth, Ga. After finishing sixth at the Brickyard Collegiate, the Bears looked to improve upon their performance in their last tournament of the fall season.
After the first day of play which consisted of the first two rounds, the Bears rounded out the day with a combined stroke count of 595 which was good for third place.
“The guys played good, but we kind of stubbed our toe at the end,” Mercer head coach Steve Bradley said. “The 10th hole is the hardest hole on the course and we made a double and triple on it. Other than that, we were solid this afternoon and if we play well tomorrow can move into second.”
Junior James Beale led the way for the Bears as he fired a 70 and a 74 in the first two rounds, leaving him in a six-way tie for fifth place overall with several of the country’s top collegiate golfers, including the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion.
“Those guys are good players and so is James,” Bradley said. “He shot three-over in the second round with a double on ten that I know he wishes he could have back. He’s gone back to just playing golf and let go of self-imposed expectations, and he’s playing great right now.”
Junior Hans Reimers was tied for 19th place overall after finishing with scores of 75 and 72 in the first two rounds of play. Sophomore Trey Rule was tied for 28th overall after shooting 78 and 71. Senior Thomas Holmes posted scores of 72 and 78 and was tied for 32nd. Freshman Jeffrey Heinicka, Jr. rounded out Mercer’s competitors with a 36-hole total of 151. He was tied for 37th place overall.
Senior John Gregory Joseph recorded scores of 72 and 76 while competing as an individual and is tied for 22nd place overall.
“Trey bounced back from a 78 to lead us in the afternoon and Hans also showed a lot of fight,” Bradley said. “I’m very proud of our effort.”
Mercer shot 289 in the final round of play to complete the tournament with a three-round total of 874. At the conclusion, the Bears were just eight strokes behind in-state rival Georgia State for second place while another in-state rival, Georgia Southern captured the team title with a stroke count of 859.
Head Coach Steve Bradley credited his players on a well played tournament.
“Obviously to finish third is nice, we had a shot at second, but Georgia State just played slightly better than us over the last five holes,” Bradley said. “Our guys have come a long way over the past six weeks. Trey’s tie for 11th finish was his career-best, James had another top-10 finish and Hans played solid for the second-straight tournament.”
Junior James Beale took home the team’s best individual finish, tying for eighth place overall with a three-round total of 216. Sophomore Trey Rule’s final round 70 combined with scores of 78 and 71 in the opening two rounds to place him tied for 11th overall. Junior Hans Reimers finished in a tie for 17th at the event with a three-round total of 220, while freshman Jeffrey Heinicka, Jr. used 225 strokes and tied for 31st place. Senior Thomas Holmes capped his tournament with a 79 on Tuesday and tied for 50th place at 229. His classmate, John Gregory Joseph, shot 76 on Tuesday and tied for 27th at 224.
“Overall I’m very happy with our play in this tournament and happy with the fall and how we’ve gotten better,” Bradley said. “The guys have a competitive fire now and after we take a couple weeks off we will get right back after it to get ready for the spring.”
James Beale’s performance in the AutoTrader Classic garnered him his third Atlantic Sun Conference Golfer of the Week honor this season.
Mercer is now finished with its fall schedule and will take a few months off before resuming play in the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational at the Sawgrass Country Club on Feb. 24, 2013.
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