Peach Belt Men’s Golf Championship Tees Off on Monday
PINE MOUNTAIN, GA – The Peach Belt Conference will hold its 21st annual men’s golf championship tournament beginning this Monday, April 9 at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. The men’s teams will play the 7,057-yard, par 72 Mountain View course at Callaway Gardens while the women will play on the nearby Lake View course. All 11 PBC men’s teams, five of them ranked in the top 25 nationally, will compete for the title and an automatic berth in the NCAA Regionals. The tournament will begin with two rounds on Monday with a final round on Tuesday.
The 2012 tournament will be the second played on the Mountain View course. The 2010 PBC Championships were held at Callaway Gardens with Georgia College winning the team title by eight strokes over USC Aiken. UNC Pembroke’s Jordan Walor was the individual champion that year as a sophomore, now as a senior he leads the Braves back to Callaway Gardens hoping to become the fourth PBC player ever to win multiple championships. Flagler’s Joel Dahlenburg also hopes to add his name to that list as he won the 2011 title.
UNC Pembroke heads into the PBC Tournament on a roll. The Braves are tied with Flagler for the PBC lead in tournament wins in 2011-12 with three each, but UNC Pembroke has not finished worse than third in any event they have played this year. UNCP won the Laker Intercollegiate in the fall and the Rendleman and Magnolia Invitationals in back-to-back weeks in March. The Braves have the lowest team stroke average in the league at 287.6, more than five strokes ahead of their nearest competitor. Walor leads the league with a 71.4 stroke average. The senior and four-time PBC Player of the Week has three tournament wins under his belt this season and eight in his career, second-most in PBC history. Jonathan McCurry is second in the league in stroke average and has five top-10s this year. He fired a league-low 63 in the second round of the Magnolia Intercollegiate. Scott Lambert is third in the PBC in stroke average with three top 5s this season.
Georgia College won the 2010 PBC title at Callaway Gardens and finished fourth a year ago. The Bobcats won the Armstrong Pirate Invitational in February and were second at the Bearcat Invitational, their last tournament before the PBC. Patrick Garrett is tied for sixth in the PBC in stroke average with a win at the Sandestin Collegiate Championship last fall and a sixth-place at the Bearcat. Taylor Smith is 13th in the league in stroke average with a pair of top-10s. As a team, the Bobcats have four top-five’s this season.
USC Aiken finished second at the 2010 PBC Championships at Callaway Gardens and have a league-best eight PBC titles in their trophy cases. The 2012 Pacers won with Bearcat Invitational two weeks ago, beating a field that included nine other PBC schools by 19 strokes. USCA also has three other second-place finishes including the Magnolia Invitational earlier in March. Matt Atkins is fourth in the PBC with a 72.7 stroke average for the season; the junior finished fifth at the Will Wilson Tanglewood, sixth at the Springhill Suites and eighth at the Bobcat. He is also the only Pacer to play in all 29 rounds this season. J.P. Solis is tied for 11th in the PBC in stroke average and has three top-10s this year.
Armstrong Atlantic State has been knocking at the door in the search for their first PBC Championship with third-place finishes in the last two PBC Tournaments. The 2012 Pirates have finished outside of the top five only three times in their nine tournaments this year with third-place results at the Kiawah Island Invitational and their own Armstrong Pirate Invite. Senior Matt Motes was named a PBC Player of the Week this season after finishing sixth at the Matlock Collegiate Classic. Motes has four top-10s to his credit. Junior Jacob Tilton has three top-10s in his five tournaments, including a third-place finish at the Bearcat Invitational. Tilton shot a team-low round of 65 at the Bobcat, finishing in a tie for seventh.
Columbus State hosts the 2012 PBC Tournament for the second time in three years and the fifth time overall. A five-time PBC Champion, the Cougars finished fourth the last time the tournament was at Callaway Gardens but hope to improve upon that after finishing outside of the top six only twice this season in nine events. The Cougars turned in their best finish in their most recent tournament as they came in third at the Bearcat Invitational; they were also fourth at Rollins and the Outback. Senior Rourke van der Spuy leads the team and is tied for ninth in the league with a 73.2 stroke average. Senior Justin Grice has been named a PBC Player of the Week twice this year, he won the Indian Bayou Classic in a sudden death playoff.
Georgia Southwestern rocketed to the top of the charts this season and were ranked #2 in Golfstat’s head-to-head rankings this spring. Currently 16th in the nation in the latest GCAA poll, the Hurricanes have never finished higher than seventh in their three PBC Tournament appearances, but hope to turn that around this year after winning three events this season with two more second-place finishes. GSW won the RTJ Grand National and the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational in back-to-back weeks last fall and were second at both the Laker at Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate. Senior Craig Gibson won the AFLAC invite and has seven top-10s in his 10 tournaments this year. Junior J.P. Griffin won the Frito Lay/Taco Bell event and was named a PBC Player of the Week.
Flagler is the defending PBC Tournament champions after blazing through the field in 2011 at Savannah Quarters Country Club for a 16-stroke tournament win. The Saints are trying to become the first team since USC Aiken in 05 and 06 to repeat as PBC Champions and could very well do so after winning the Outback Steakhouse Intercollegiate in February and turning in five more top-10s. Senior Joel Dahlenburg is the reigning individual champion after shooting five-under in 2011. He has followed that up this season with a win at the Bearcat Invitational and a third at the Jay Jennison Memorial. Greg Mergel leads the team and is tied for 14th in the PBC with a 73.5 stroke average. He won the Marjorie Whitney Invitational and was fourth at the Outback.
Clayton State had top-five finishes at both the Honda of Columbia Fall Classic and the Armstrong Pirate Invitational. Will Shenstone leads the team in stroke average and has a top-10 this season. Lander’s Brad Hannah is tied for 11th in the PBC in stroke average with two top-10s and a top-5. The Bearcats finished sixth at the Laker Intercollegiate and seventh at the Honda. Montevallo finished third at their own tournament in the fall and were second at the North Georgia Spring Invitational. Andrew Lowry has two top-five finishes this year. North Georgia won that spring invite as well as the Montevallo Intercollegiate. The Saints were also fifth at Coastal Georgia. Howard Duffin and Aaron George both have tournament wins this year.
The 2012 PBC Championships are free to the public. The tournament will be covered with live scoring through Golfstat, you can follow all the live action here.
For more information about Callaway Gardens including directions and hotel options, please click here.