Point Park wins KIAC Men's Golf Tournament title, earns bid to NAIA national tourney
April 30, 2013 at 11:00 p.m. ET
Point Park's KIAC championship team includes (L to R): Head Coach Gabe Bubon, Billy Wivell, James Daley, Austin Elder, Chris Bowen and Collin Holmes. Photo by Lori Holmes.
RICHMOND, Ky. -- For the first time since 1969, the Point Park University men's golf team is going to the NAIA National Championship. The Pioneers earned a national bid on Tuesday when they won the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men's Golf Tournament title by 16 shots over the other six teams in the field.
After securing the KIAC's automatic bid, Point Park will next compete in the NAIA Men's Golf National Championship May 14-17 at Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore. It is the second time in team history that the Pioneers will compete at nationals, with the only other appearance being a third-place finish in the 1969 tournament. The program was discontinued in 1972, and the present-day team is in just its fourth year since being reinstated in 2009 after a 37-year hiatus.
Point Park will enter the national tournament as one of the hottest teams in all of NAIA men's golf. The Pioneers have won four tournaments in a row and are a perfect 4 for 4 in winning tournaments this spring. Point Park has won every tournament it has entered during the spring season, and it has won a total five tournaments in 2012-13.
Point Park built a big lead in the KIAC Tournament with outstanding play on Monday to open the two-day event, and it cruised home to the title on Day 2 of the 54-hole event at Gibson bay Golf Course in Richmond, Ky.
Point Park had a 54-hole total of 903, which was 16 shots better than second-place Brescia (Ky.), the defending champion, at 919. Brescia actually turned in the best scores of any team in Rounds 2 and 3, but Point Park was ahead of the Bearcats by 22 shots with a very-impressive team score of 294 in the first round.
Point Park carded rounds of 294-302-307, whereas Brescia came in at 316-301-302. Asbury (Ky.) placed third at 939, followed by Indiana East in fourth at 989.
Point Park had three of the top five individual finishers as sophomore Collin Holmes placed second overall with a 54-hole score of 6-over 222. Holmes, from Avon Lake, Ohio, shot his worst score of the tournament in the first round with a 77, but he played the final 36 holes in 1-over par for outstanding scores of 72-73 coming in.
Holmes led a trio of KIAC All-Conference honorees for Point Park, with the others being Austin Elder (+9) and Chris Bowen (+11). Elder, a senior from Warren, Ohio, placed third individually mainly built on strong rounds of 74-74 over the first 36 holes. Bowen, a junior from Bethel Park, Pa., opened with an even-par 72 and finished with rounds of 77-78.
James Daley, a junior from Youngstown, Ohio, placed tied for ninth to give the Pioneers four players in the Top 10 of the 36-player field. Daley shot a strong round of 75 to start the tournament and closed with rounds of 79-79.
The Pioneers' scores slipped a bit in Rounds 2 and 3, and what didn't help was that No. 4 player Billy Wivell had to withdraw after 36 holes due to an upper-body injury. Wivell was among the leaders after a 73 in the first round, but his injury bumped his score up to 80 in the second round.
The Pioneers had to play with four players in the final round, meaning they didn't have the an opportunity to throw out their lowest score. Teams are allowed to send out as many as five players, and the top four individual scores are added up to create the team score.
KIAC Tournament individual medalist Steven Brooks of Asbury shot rounds of 74-71-73 to beat Point Park's Holmes by four shots. Brooks had a 54-hole total of 2-over 218, and he earned an individual invitation to the NAIA national tournament since he was the medalist and not from the winning team.
The NAIA Men's Golf National Championship will include up to 30 teams that will be vying for a national title. For more information about the event, click the link below: