After firing a blistering hot 284 in the opening round, the Flames slipped on Tuesday in the final round and were forced to finish with a 583 total in the 36-hole event.
For the second straight week, the University of the Cumberlands finished ahead of the Lee team, but this time it was only by a one-stroke margin. The Patriots posted a 293 score on Tuesday and finished the event with a 582.
“It was an intense day. We had a great back-and-forth match going with Cumberlands,” said coach John Maupin. “Unfortunately, it just didn’t go our way at the end. We did a great job of putting ourselves in a position to win. We just didn’t close the door when we had the chance.”
Maupin added, that he was not taking anything away from the winners, “but we were in control and just didn’t execute on the last hole. As a young team, it is something that we will learn from and handle it better next time. Despite the disappointment, we did a lot of good things in finishing second this week.”
Reinhardt College (594) was third, while LaGrange College fired a 595 and Indiana Wesleyan rounded out the top five with a 602 tally. Fifteen teams and 92 individuals took part in the two-day event.
While the second place finish wasn’t exactly what coach Maupin had envisioned, sophomore Tyler Smith did walk away with medalist honors. After a superb 67 on Monday, Smith countered with a 1-over par 73 on Tuesday. His 140 finish was good enough for a one-stroke win over Cumberlands’ Pierre Carlsson (141). Reinhardt’s Zach Lindsey and Berry’s Alex Irvin tied for third at 142.
“I’m really happy for Tyler,” said the Lee coach. “But I’m not surprised at all. I have known for awhile that this is the type of player he is. Tyler works extremely hard and that is paying off in a big way. He has now won two of our last three tournaments and he played like a champion the last two days.”
Lee’s JB Eksteen had the best round of the afternoon for the Flames. He posted an even-par 72 and his 145 total was good enough for a fifth-place tie with LaGrange’s Hunter Keener.
Freshman Hunter Vest tallied a 77 in the final round and his 147 tied Indiana Wesleyan’s Matt Milholland for eighth place. Matt Emery was Lee’s fourth best scorer on Tuesday with a 77. Emery posted a 153 over the two-day period, while Jeremy Lawson came in at 78 in the final round and a 152.
Two Lee players played in the individual competition. Steven Locke had rounds of 74-77 151 and Caleb Roberson fired rounds of 75-78 153. Locke tied for 27th and Roberson tied for 40th.
The Lee men will return to action on March 25-27 when they travel to Camp LeJeune, NC to take part in the annual Camp LeJeune Championship.