Greensboro, N.C. – The Transylvania men's golf team competed on Friday and Saturday at a site the Pioneers aspire to return to next month at the two-day Guilford Match Play tournament held at Grandover Resort.
The site of next month's Division III NCAA Men's Golf National Championships, Grandover this weekend served as the setting for a 16-team match play bracket featuring numerous top-25 programs.
"This weekend was another great opportunity to play against some of the country's best college golf programs," commented Transylvania men's golf head coach Brian Lane after the weekend's proceedings. "I felt like we were able to hold our own against competition that we have grown accustomed to being able to compete with."
Aiming to qualify for what would be their 12th-consecutive appearance in the national championships, Transylvania took part in what was a loaded field, beginning with their Round one opponents on Friday morning, the No. 18 nationally-ranked Rhodes College Lynx.
Seeded 11th out of the 16 teams, the Pioneers stunned the sixth-seeded Lynx, winning three out of five matches to take the victory and advance to the quarterfinals. The Pioneers were led to victory by sophomore Harrison Lane, and seniors Carson Wattenbarger and Clay Church. Wattenbarger pulled out a dramatic victory over Rhodes' Tyler Cohen, carding a birdie on the 18th and final hole to pull out the one-hole victory. Lane sealed up a win, 2 and 1 against Rhodes' Matt McKenney, while Church left the least drama for the Pioneers with a 3 and 2 victory over Alec Davis.
The Pioneers advanced to the quarterfinals later on Friday, facing No. 14 and third-seeded Hope College. Aiming to upend their second top-20 team of the day, the Pioneers were denied by the Flying Dutchmen, who came away with victories in all five matches. Young finished closest to victory, but lost the 18th hole on a double-bogey.
Transylvania continued competition on Saturday in the consolation round and took on 10th-seeded Webster University. The Gorloks took three of five matches from the Pios. Berger came away with a 3 and 2 victory and Young secured a 2 and 1 triumph.
In the Saturday nightcap against the University of Mary Washington, the Pioneers fell to the Eagles, 3-2. Wattenbarger finished his week as he began it with a one-up win, using a go-ahead birdie on the 17th hole and finishing with a par on the final hole. Church finished off his weekend at Grandover with flair, delivering a 4 and 3 victory.
"Being able to play five rounds on the NCAA Tournament site hopefully will pay dividends if we are able to take care of business in the HCAC," added Lane. "Now all of our focus must shift to HCAC competition."
The Transylvania men's golf team returns to the links on Saturday, April 21 as they head to Defiance, Ohio to participate in the two-round Yellow Jacket Invitational hosted by Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conferece member Defiance College. That tournament will serve as the penultimate competition for the Pioneers ahead of the 2018 HCAC Men's Golf Championships.
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