Pioneers ready to battle for SAC Golf Championship

Pioneers ready to battle for SAC Golf Championship

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum College men's golf team will be competing at the 2018 South Atlantic Conference Championship, starting this Sunday morning at Cobb's Glen Country Club in Anderson, South Carolina. 

The Pioneers will be playing alongside Mars Hill in the first wave of Sunday's opening round beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the par-72, 7,002-yard layout.

The Pioneers will be vying for its second SAC Championship as play begins in the three-day, 11-team, 54-hole tournament with the winner earning the league's automatic bid to next month's NCAA Division II Tournament.  Tusculum captured the program's first SAC Championship in 2015 led by current interim head coach Nick Forsberg.  As a junior on the 2015 team, Forsberg captured medalist honors with a birdie on the 18th hole to lead TC to its first SAC Golf Championship.

Tusculum is looking to wrap-up the 2017-18 season on a high note as the Pioneers have finished eighth or better in four tournaments including team championship honors at the Bob Dibble Classic last fall as TC fired a 36-hole score of 575

Sophomore Anthony Bolden is leading the way for the Pioneers this season with his 74.80 stroke average.   The Mokena, Illinois product has recorded three top-20 finishes, with two in the top-10 including a runner-up performance in the Bob Dibble Classic where he lost in a nine-hole playoff after recording rounds of 69-70 to card a three-under par 139.

Bolden has also tied for 11th at the Richard Rendleman Invitational with 69-77=146 and recorded a seventh-place outing at the Tusculum Invitational with 74-74-77=225.   This will be Bolden's first SAC Championship appearance.  He enters the league tournament with a 75.53 career stroke average which is currently the 11th lowest in Tusculum history.

Senior David Whinery is second on the squad with his 74.86 scoring average which includes a team-best four top-20 finishes including two times in the top-four.  The Hinsdale, Illinois native tied for fourth place at the Matt Dyas Invitational last fall with back-to-back rounds of 71-71 for a two-under par 142.  He also finished fourth at last month's Tusculum Invitational where he posted a 54-hole score of 74-73-71=218.  Whinery also tied for 15th at the Rendleman Invitational (78-70=148) and 20th at the Dibble Classic in the fall (76-71=147).

Whinery is the lone player Pioneer making the trip to South Carolina to have SAC Championship playing experience.  At last year's event, he tied for 12th place at the league tournament.  He enters this week's championship with a career average of 74.67 which is fourth in program history.

Senior Brandon Alexander is playing in his first SAC Championship and is third on the team with his 76.05 stroke average.  The Fallston, North Carolina native has recorded three top-20 finishes including a season-best fifth place finish at the Tusculum Invitational where he logged rounds of 74-71-74=219.  Alexander tied for 12th at the Dibble Classic and finished 18th at the Rendleman Invitational.

A pair of freshmen will be looking to contribute this weekend at the SAC Championship with Bennett Noe and Matthew Kowalski.

Noe, a rookie from Knoxville, Tennessee, is fifth on the team with his 79.81 scoring average which includes a pair of top-30 finishes.  The Catholic High School graduate has a 76.75 stroke average in his last four rounds, including a final round 72 at the Tusculum Invitational where he finished 29th.  He also tied for 26th at the Walters State Fall Classic.

Kowalski, a native of Milan, Ohio and Edison High School graduate, has played in five tournament and has an 81.09 scoring average in his 11 competitive rounds.  He finished 32nd at the Tusculum Invitational and tied for 45th place at the Dibble Classic.

Tusculum will be competing in its 19th SAC Tournament as the Pioneers have accounted for 14 top-five finishes since 2000 including the 2015 championship and runner-up performances in 2005, 2007 and 2011.  Tusculum logged a fifth place showing at last year's weather-abbreviated championship in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Anderson University, who joined the conference in July 2010, will serve as host of the South Atlantic Conference Championship for a first time.

Tusculum has enjoyed tremendous success at Cobb's Glen Country Club in the past, winning an amazing four tournament titles in a six-year span from 2007-2012.  The Pioneers won the Anderson Invitational in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012, along with a runner-up finish at Cobb's Glen in 2009.