Apollo, PA – Garrett College's balance and depth served the Lakers well over the weekend at the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference's championship golf tournament.
Laker sophomore C.J. Davis (Southern High) took second place overall, carding an 88-78-166 total in the two-round tournament, as Garrett College claimed five of the top nine spots on the way to the men's team championship. Four of the five Lakers took advantage of favorable course conditions to post lower second-day scores on Sunday to put an exclamation point on the team title.
"The good part about our team is that all of them have proven they can shoot low scores," said GC head coach J.T. Lewis, who was selected WPCC Coach of the Year. "Every match I had no idea who was going to come in first, second, third or fourth because of our depth and balance. They're all very skilled and can all shoot in the 70s."
There weren't many golfers shooting in the 70s on Saturday, but a change in weather conditions led to improved second-day scores on The Links at Spring Church's par-72 course.
"It rained a little bit and that made the course a little more receptive," said GC freshman Brandon Green (Southern High), who shot a 90-85-175 to finish seventh in addition to being named to the WPCC regular-season all-conference team. "The first day it was dry and hard and we couldn't play the way we were used to playing. Our sophomores [Davis and fifth-place finisher Brady Merrick] really stepped up on Sunday."
Merrick (Southern High) shot a 94-77-171 as he and Davis reduced their collective score by 27 strokes on Day 2 of the tournament.
"Their experience was very helpful," said Lewis. "They didn't let shooting high on Day 1 get them down."
Davis was actually one shot better than individual tournament champion Carmen Oliva (Butler County Community College) on Sunday, but Oliva displayed more consistency in carding a 77-79-156 to claim top honors by 10 strokes. This was Oliva's second WPCC title.
Davis used his strong second round to overtake Dominic Achille (Community College of Allegheny County) for second place, erasing a three-shot deficit after the first round to edge Achille by a stroke.
Jacqueline Dias of Butler County Community College shot 103-101-204 to claim the women's title.
Green, meanwhile, said Lewis' Coach of the Year honors were well deserved.
"He was always there for us and we could talk to him about anything," Green said of his coach. "When we needed a word of encouragement, he would always put a smile on our faces."