Hot Springs, AR—The University of North Alabama's two-year reign as Gulf South Conference golf champions ended Tuesday as the Lions finished three strokes behind West Florida at the 2011 GSC Championships at the Hot Springs Country Club.
UWF inched past two-time defending league champion North Alabama in the closest team finish since 2004. All twelve teams battled wind gusts nearing 40 mph in the final 18 holes with the Argonauts topping UNA, 877-880, despite the Lions' third round best-score of 293. West Florida entered the day with a five-shot edge and held its ground thanks to a 295 team score. .
Delta State finished in third place (+23, 887), followed by fourth-place Valdosta State (+36, 887) and fifth-place Harding (+45, 909).
Rounding out the Top Ten was West Georgia (+48, 912), Henderson State (+50, 914), Arkansas Tech (+57, 921), Southern Arkansas (+84, 948) and Ouachita Baptist (+88, 952). Completing the field was Arkansas-Monticello (+91, 955) and Christian Brothers (+106, 970).
Individually, just four strokes separated first-place from fifth-place. Leading the pack was UWF's Carlos Rodriguez who won the Individual Medalist honor via the lone under-par final score: -1, 215 (73-70-72). Teammate Thomas Guste-Pederson finished just one shot behind the leader with an even-par, 216 (74-68-74). SAU's Travis Chrietzberg made school history, as his third-place score of 217 (70-69-78) marked the highest effort ever by a Mulerider golfer. DSU's Grant Goforth came in at fourth-place with a 218 (75-72-72), while All-Tournament Team honors also went to the fifth-place (219) trio of UNA's Tyler Chandler (75-72-72) and Ricky Stimets (73-74-75) and Delta State's Chase Smith (70-74-75).
West Florida and North Alabama are expected to move on to the NCAA Regionals, while Delta State and Valdosta State also hold out hopes. The 2011 NCAA Division II Super Regionals will be held from May 2-4 at the Victoria Hills Golf Club, Deland, FL.
In addition to Chandler and Stimets, UNA's Tyler Ekenberg tied for ninth at 222, Jace Windom tied for 13th at 225 and Jake Greer tied for 24th at 229.