App State men’s golf team played their last tournament of the year in Miramar Beach, Florida, placing 10th of 11 Sun Belt schools in the conference championship to finish off the season.
Georgia State led all three days of the 54-hole stroke play championship and advanced as the number one seed in the match play finale on Wednesday.
Other schools to advance were Troy, Arkansas State and South Alabama, ranked in respective order.
The Panthers’ fourth seed, sophomore Max Herrmann, won the individual championship with an overall three-round score of even-par after finishing his last round with a clutch four-under par finale.
Junior Patrick Moriarty led the Apps throughout the tournament placing tied for fourth in the first two rounds, and shooting one-under in the second round.
Despite Moriarty’s first two days shooting an overall even score, Moriarty managed to shoot the App’s second highest round of the final day with a 74 and dropping to 15th place.
In his final tournament of his college career, senior Caleb Keck placed tied for 39th, after starting off the tournament tied for 17th, but his second round 77 dropped him down 23 places the next day.
After missing the Irish Creek Intercollegiate and Wofford Intercollegiate because of mono, Keck said the Mountaineer’s No. 3 golfer, sophomore Chance Watson, returned to golf finishing tied for 37th place.
Sophomore Jake Smith came off his 67th place finishing at Wofford, his hometown tournament in Spartanburg, SC, to finish 53rd out of 55, including a first round 83 which showed to be the second worst single round score of the tournament.
Freshman Alex Burris jumped 10 places to 32nd after his lowest round of even par to finish his rookie season.
The Mountaineers shot the second most pars out of the whole Sun Belt, but conservative golf can only get a team so far as the Apps also shot the least amount of birdies in the conference, according to golfstat.com.
The men’s year ended with two top-5 finishes and the roster played out to be top heavy the majority of the year with Moriarty, Keck and Watson as the season leaders.
After Keck’s departure, Moriarty and Watson will claim the reigns of the team veterans, eager to make their mark in the Sun Belt and the rest of the collegiate golf world.
For next season, the Mountaineers will return with two “highly regarded” recruits, head coach Bill Dicus said, and the more mature and experienced duo of Burris and Smith.
The new freshmen are Tripp Summerlin and Walter Brinker.
Summerlin is an all-conference golfer in the 3A Mid State, and tied for seventh after winning the County Wide Mid State 3A Championship.
Brinker qualified for the USGA Junior in 2015 and won the CGA Dogwood State Junior Boys’ Championship “which is really the stroke play junior championship in North Carolina,” Dicus said. “I’ve never had an opportunity to get one of those guys before.”
Men’s golf will return this coming fall for the Cleveland State Invitational in Aurora, Ohio, with a refreshed lineup, more developed veterans and hungry for a shot at conference glory and nationwide respect.
Story by: Angelo Errico, Sports Reporter
Photo courtesy of App State athletics.