Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fairmont State Golfers - Making History

I thought ya'll would enjoy this. Here's an article from the Times West Virginian written by one of our dearest friends & FSU supporters, Duane Cochran:

WHEELING — The final four holes on the Jones Course at the Speidel Golf Club have been the undo­ing of a number of players and teams.That wasn’t the case Wednesday afternoon for Fairmont State University’s men’s golf team at the NCAA Division II East Regional.

The Falcons led by their top four scorers, Jon Burnside, Tyler Franklin, Will Gautreau and Justin Caroli, played the final four holes four-under par to wipe out a lead by Indiana (Pa.) University and win the 2007 East Regional Championship.

“Anyone can tell you the last four holes here are the toughest and we talked all morning on the range while we were preparing for the final round that as difficult as the final four holes are at Oglebay all we had to do was keep ourselves in the golf tournament and around the lead and the tourna­ment would be won or lost on the last four holes,” said FSU head coach Reid Amos.

“Boy did the guys respond to that. They absolutely won the golf tourna­ment on holes 15-18. As a team our four scorers played those final four holes four under which is just a phe­nomenal.”

The victory earns FSU its first-ever berth in the NCAA Division II Golf Championships which will be played May 22-25 at The Meadows in Allendale, Mich.

Fairmont State shot a 293 Wednesday and finished with a three­day total of 896 to better IUP by three strokes. The Crimson Hawks, who lost a two-shot lead on the final three holes, finished with an 899.The University of Charleston, which led the first two rounds, fell to third Wednesday and ended up with a 906. Ohio Valley placed fourth with a 913 and was fol­lowed by Millersville (915), Concord (922), Clarion (928) and West Liberty (931).

FSU’s Gautreau, a junior from Niagara, Ontario, tied for medalist honors in the tourna­ment with the University of Charleston’s Michael Todd. Both finished with eight-over par 221s.

“We had four guys play great in this tournament, but Will was the MVP for us in this one,” said Amos. “He got himself into the argument quickly on the second day and he just played so steadily for us after that. He made a big, big difference in the outcome for us.”Gautreau shot an opening­round 78, but followed that with a one-under 71 Tuesday and a two-over 73 Wednesday.

“This is absolutely unbeliev­able,” said Gautreau. “I’ve never experienced anything quite like this. Just before the second round I don’t know what it was or why, but my knees were shak­ing and I was real nervous. I walked out there today as the lone leader going into the round and I’ve never been so pumped up in my life. I could not wait to play. I had no nerves whatsoever the whole round.

“When I finished my round today I had no idea where any­body was at, which is some­what strange because usually we have a good idea what the other guys on the team are doing. When I made my last par on 18 I walked off the green and everyone was dying to know my score. When I told them I saw everyone giving each other hugs and high-fives and I knew we had won it. What a feeling.”

FSU’s top four players all fin­ished among the top 11 in the tournament.Senior Jon Burnside shot a 74 Wednesday and finished with a three-day total of 224 to tie for fifth place overall. Senior Tyler Franklin also carded a 74 yester­day and finished with a 225 to end up in a tie for ninth place.

Junior Justin Caroli had the low round of the day for FSU Wednesday with a 72. He fin­ished with a 226 to tie for 11th place overall. Sophomore Zack Rudy ended up with an 83 Wednesday and a 255 for the tournament which allowed him to place 45th.

“We knew what we had to do up here,” said Burnside, who is from Fairmont. “We’ve been in this type of situation before and we just told ourselves after the first day that we needed to shoot two good rounds because we were up against a lot of good teams. We felt good. We just took it to the course, played awesome as a team and every­thing worked out for us.

“As soon as it was over today I looked at Tyler, who I’ve been with for four years here, and we just knew without saying that we had accomplished one of our main goals for this season. We wanted a chance to compete in the national tournament and it’s an awesome feeling right now knowing that we won a regional tournament and we’re going to get that chance that we’ve worked very hard for.”

Franklin, who is from Ripley, says this accomplishment is the best of his young golfing career. “When we saw the scores everyone was just hooping and hollering,” said Franklin. “It’s really kind of hard to describe the feeling. This is by far the biggest accomplishment of my career. To be a part of a team like the one we have, to win a regional tour­nament and have the opportunity to play in the school’s first NCAA national tournament with great players from all over the world is like a dream come true for me and for all of us. This is what we wanted.

“We communicate so well as a team and up here we talked with each other and with our coaches about strategy and how to approach difficult holes and things like that and it really paid off for us. We played well and like a basketball team when one guy starts playing well the rest of us feed off of that and tend to play well too. That’s what we needed to have happen in the final two rounds for us and that’s pretty much what hap­pened.”

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