It’s been 12 years since the College of Charleston men’s golf team’s first and last conference title in 2002.
CofC Head Coach Mark McEntire and crew couldn’t be more ecstatic as the program won the 2014 CAA Men’s Golf Championship title on Sunday at The Founders Club at St. James Plantation.
As the league’s automatic qualifier, the Cougars will make a return to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2003 – an at-large bid as former members of the Southern Conference.
This year’s championship run by the Cougars was even more special as first-year members of the Colonial Athletic Association and claiming the school’s first team championship in a men’s sport during their inaugural season and third overall next to volleyball and women’s golf.
CofC was led by its veterans as well as two talented underclassmen finishing with two incredible consecutive under par rounds to lead the team to victory. The Cougars shot a combined three-round score of 874 (+10) and won by seven strokes over runner-up Towson (+17). Both teams shared the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.
Senior Alex Ellis (Austin, Texas), who qualified for the NCAA LSU Regional a year ago as an individual, led the way with a four birdie, even-par round on the final day to tie for 12th individually at +8. Sophomore John Jonas (Jacksonville, Fla.) carded a three-round score of 74-68-71—213 to finish at 3-under par and individual runner-up of the tournament. Freshman William Rainey (Charlotte, N.C.) placed third overall with a 217 (+1). Both were named to the CAA All-Tournament Team.
Junior Zach Munroe (Charlotte, N.C.), who entered the 54-hole championship as the top-ranked player in the field, placed in the Top 10 with a 223 (+7) which put him in a four-way tie for eighth. Sophomore Josh Lorenzetti (Columbia, S.C.) tied for 17th with a three-round score of 227 (+11).
Lorenzetti tied for the most pars of the tournament with 38, while Rainey (12) and Jonas (11) made the second-and third-most birdies in the eight-team field.
“What a win for our program and The College,” said CofC Head Coach Mark McEntire, who is in his ninth season with the Cougars. “Congrats to our players on our first CAA men’s championship in school history. I am so happy for our team. Alex Ellis started the comeback and the team followed. We played another excellent back nine and it allowed us to win the championship today.”
This year’s six NCAA Regional sites will be played on May 15-17 and hosted by Auburn (Southeast Regional), Missouri (South Central Regional), Oregon (West Regional), NC State (East Regional), UTSA (Southwest Regional) and Northern Illinois (Central Regional).
The Top 30 teams, five from each regional site, will then compete for the team championship hosted by Wichita State on May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Cougars will learn their regional destination as the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship Selection Show will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel on Monday, May 5, at 10 a.m. (ET). during Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily morning news and lifestyle show.