Point Park University wins AMC Men's Golf Tournament with back-nine rally
April 15, 2012
Point Park University -- 2012 AMC Men's Golf Tournament Champions (L to R): Alejandro Bernardini, James Daley, James Daley, Michael Popovec, Chris Bowen, Austin Elder, Head Coach Gabe Bubon, Billy Wivell, Collin Holmes, Steve Veydt.
MAYVILLE, N.Y. -- Point Park University rallied to win the American Mideast Conference Men's Golf Tournament by erasing an estimated five-shot deficit with five holes to play in Sunday's final round at the Donald-Ross designed Chautuaqua Golf Club Lake Course in Mayville, N.Y.
The Pioneers, who trailed by two after Saturday's first round, found themselves down by five shots late in the final round as estimated by head coach Gabe Bubon. But Point Park's back-nine charge resulted in a two-shot victory over Daemen College.
The final standings had Point Park with a two-day total of 605, just ahead of Daemen at 607. First-round leader Walsh University ended up third at 610. Roberts Wesleyan was way out of contention after 18 holes, and its final score was 664.
It is the first American Mideast Conference title for Point Park men's golf, which is in its third year of operation after a 37-year hiatus. The Pioneers were third of eight teams in last year's AMC Tournament, and were 10th of 10 teams at the conference championship just two years ago.
"I give credit to our guys," said Bubon, who was named AMC Coach of the Year. "We grinded it out, we battled. We could have packed it in when we were down, but we hit a lot of good shots down the stretch in clutch situations."
As AMC Tournament champions, Point Park unfortunately does not qualify for the NAIA national tournament based on that. With only four teams, AMC men's golf falls short of the required six teams for an automatic national bid.
Instead, the Pioneers will visit the Unaffiliated Group Tournament May 7-8 at Shaker Run Golf Club in Lebanon, Ohio. They will got the NAIA tournament if they are the team champions there.
The front nine was played in a downpour, but the rain stopped as the second nine began. That's when Point Park made its move.
Junior Alejandro Bernardini and freshman Collin Holmes made the All-AMC team by finishing in the top five.
Bernardini, from Mexico, shot a final-round 73, and his two-day total of 149 was good for second place individually. He was just two shots behind AMC champion Kyle Harman of Daemen at 147.
Holmes, a freshman from Avon Lake, Ohio, had a tournament total of 150 after Sunday's 76. He placed third individually, and he played in the final group because he was in third place after a 74 in the first round.
Holmes birdied No. 15 and 17, the second of which cemented Point Park's two-shot win. Each time, Holmes knocked his approach to three or four feet and made the putt.
"Collin stuck two shots in close when we needed it," said Bubon. "For a freshman to be able to do that in the final group was impressive. (Alejandro) started his round birdie-birdie to set an early tone for us."
Billy Wivell shot a 76 and Austin Elder shot a 77 to round out Point Park's team total on Sunday. Wivell, a junoir from Deer Lakes, Pa., shot 2-under over his final nine holes, and Elder, a junior from Warren, Ohio, shot 1-under his final nine holes.
James Daley, a sophomore from Youngstown, Ohio, shot a strong score of 75 in the first round and turned in an 81 in the final round.
Competing as individuals for Point Park were sophomore Chris Bowen (80-80--160), freshman Michael Popovec (82-80--162) and sophomore Steve Veydt (82-WD--WD).