Wabash, IN – What initially served as a preliminary test that the #22 Transylvania men's golf team passed, instead manifested into a legendary finish as the Pioneers took the team victory at the Manchester University Golf Invitational on Sunday.
Participating in their final tournament before the first round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tourney next weekend, the nationally-ranked Pioneers displayed their best collective showing of the spring season, owning the top-four slots on the final leaderboard by Sunday's end.
However, 18 holes wasn't enough to figure out in which order the top three would finish on Sunday. Transylvania's Casey Gilligan finished fourth, shooting 72+73=145 over the two day event, finishing 3-over.
Gilligan's teammates all dueled to mesmerizing finishes, as Nicholas McCarthy, Jeff Meade, and Hunter Cloud all ended deadlocked with a two-day total of 141, or 1-under par. Meade shot a 66 on Day Two to complete his rapid rise up the leaderboard and tie McCarthy and Cloud; McCarthy shot a 73 on the second day after leading the field, while Cloud improved upon his Day One score by shooting a 3-under 68.
Clay Church posted a top-11 finish to round out the placing for the Pioneers as he shot a personal-best 73 on the second day of action.
The trio of Cloud, McCarthy and Meade all finished atop the leaderboard, and a playoff was held to determine the solo winner. What developed was instead another back nine and more for the final two competitors.
Meade bogeyed the second hole of the playoff to bow out with a third place finish, while Cloud and McCarthy continued to make par, prolonging the playoff. On and on the two seniors battled, continuing to par every hole they took on. The marathon went to the tenth hole where Cloud was able to come through with a great approach on the green and birdie in the hole to win the event. Looking back at the second day of work, Cloud and McCarthy had combined to golf 56 holes.
Collectively the performance was a strong statement for the Pioneers who are bidding for their tenth straight HCAC tournament title and another hopeful run at the NCAA Championships. Transylvania outshot the 10-team field decisively, outpacing the second place team, Mt. St. Joseph, by a full 25 strokes to finish one-over for the event.
The Pioneers now pocket a productive weekend and prepare for the HCAC Championships. The first of the two weekend event will be held at the Shadowood Golf Course in Seymour, Indiana before the third and final rounds are held at Honeywell Golf Course where the Pioneers claimed victory this weekend.
For more on the Pioneers' postseason push, follow the official Transylvania men's golf twitter account @TransyGolf