The 2019 UNCG men’s golf team captured its second consecutive SoCon title and its fourth in school history last week at the par-72 Pinehurst No. 9.
It was a historically good performance for the Spartans, who shot a collective 276 in the tournament’s final round, one of the lowest team scores in SoCon Tournament history. That 276 allowed the Spartans to pull away from second-place East Tennessee State, and UNCG ultimately won by a comfortable 12 strokes. UNCG Golf now awaits their placement in the NCAA Tournament, which will be revealed today at 9 p.m. on the Golf Channel.
Led by All-SoCon selection and 2018 SoCon medalist Nick Lyerly, who shot 69, 69 and 67 over the tournament, the Spartans led comfortably for most of the weekend. A second round push by ETSU and its star, Shisho Go, cut UNCG’s lead down to just four strokes, but UNCG’s subsequent 276 squashed any hopes of an ETSU comeback.
Things didn’t go as well for UNCG and Lyerly in the individual standings. Lyerly and Go were far-and-away the two best players and battled head-to-head all weekend. With a SoCon medal and an automatic berth in the individual NCAA Regionals on the line, Lyerly entered the third round one stroke ahead of Go, but Go took a one-stroke lead with a birdie on 17. Lyerly responded with a crucial birdie of his own on 18 to send the two to a one-hole, sudden death playoff.
Lyerly and Go both nailed birdies on the playoff hole, but the sophomore bogeyed his next hole, giving Go the medal and denying Lyerly a second straight individual championship.
It’s been an incredible year for UNCG Men’s Golf. Lyerly, who also won the Pinnacle Award last week, which is given to the player with the highest GPA on the SoCon championship-winning team, is cementing himself as one of the best Spartan golfers ever. Senior Bryce Hendrix, who shot a one-under 71 in the second round, was named to the All-SoCon Tournament team.
Meanwhile, 17-year head coach Terrance Stewart, who was named SoCon Coach of the Year, has guided the Spartans to three NCAA Regional appearances in four years. Most telling of the team’s sustained success is their four tournament wins over the season—good for the most in school history.
The team will be at Kickback Jack’s tonight at 9 p.m. to await their seeding in the NCAA Tournament.