DAHLONEGA, GA - Fresh off their first victory of the fall at the Montevallo Invitational, the North Georgia men's golf team is heading to Clemmons, North Carolina, to take part in the 2011 Will Wilson Intercollegiate contested at the par-70 Championship course at the Tanglewood Country Club.
The first place finish at Timberline was the Saints best finish since finishing in fourth place last year. The victory was the first for North Georgia since last October and the seventh in the program's three year history.
Leading the way for the Saints is senior Howard Duffin, who is coming off a second place finish two weeks ago in Alabama. Duffin has had a stellar fall and is the only member of the golf team to score in the 70's in all seven of his rounds. Duffin has finished in the top three in two of the three tournaments he has taken part in this fall.
Last year at the Will Wilson Intercollegiate, Duffin finished in a tie for ninth place shooting a three-round total of 218 (77-71-70) leaving him at eight-over-par for the tournament just seven shots off the pace.
Grant Rish continues to improve in his second season at North Georgia, having improved his stroke average from 79.4 last year to just north of 77 this fall. Rish is coming off a sixth place finish at the Montevallo Invitational. Last year at the Will Wilson Intercollegiate, Rish finished in a tie for 43rd place shooting a three-day total of 227 (75-78-74).
Matt Rochlin and Benjamin Jarrard are both poised for breakout tournaments. Rochlin has competed in two tournaments this fall with his best finish coming at the USCA Kiawah Island Invitational where he shot a final round 74 improving on his open total by 12 shots.
Benjamin Jarrard is coming off his first action of the fall at the Montevallo Invitational. Jarrard shot a two-round total of 165 (82-83), good enough for a 23-over-par finish and in sole possession of 31st place.
Freshman Aaron George and Will Brackett have made an impact early in their tenure at North Georgia. After not competing in the opening tournament of the year, George has reeled off back-to-back impressive scores. He was the lowest scorer on the team in Florida at the Jay Jennison Memorial and finished in fifth place at the Montevallo Invitational.
Will Brackett is coming off his first action of the fall. In his collegiate debut, Brackett fired a two-round total of 149 (77-72) leaving him at seven-over-par and in a tie for 10th place.
As a team, the Saints finished in ninth place last year at the Will Wilson Intercollegiate, shooting a three-round total of 889 (302-293-294). Newberry won the tournament last year with Queens, UNC-Pembroke, Carson-Newman and Barton rounding out the top five.
Daniel Stanley from Newberry claimed individual medalist honors in the event. Stanley carded an impressive 66 in the third and final round to finish at 211 (78-67-66). Carson-Newman's Liam Ashby (69-73-70) and UNC Pembroke's Jonathan McCurry (69-73-70) ended the event tied for second individually at 212.
The 18-hole Championship course at the Tanglewood Golf Club features just over 7,000 yards of course and is a par 70. The course rating is 74.5 and it has a slope rating of 140 on Bermuda grass. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, the Championship course opened in 1958 and played host to the 1974 PGA Championship, won by Lee Trevino.
This will be the most challenging course that the Saints play this fall, but the weather conditions appear to be ideal with low wind and no sign of rain heading into the 54-hole tournament.
The 2011 Will Wilson Intercollegiate is a Division II Southeast Regional Preview and features three Peach Belt schools as North Georgia looks to top both USC-Aiken and UNC-Pembroke for the first time this fall. The tournament will be a three-round, 54 hole tournament (18 each day). Action is slated to get underway Sunday morning, October 16th.