CHAUTAUQUA - The Monroe Community College Tribunes went wire-to-wire again at the NJCAA Division III National Golf Tournament.
The defending champions led for all four rounds last year and did the same this year. In Friday's final round, Monroe from Rochester shot a 301 for a 72-hole total of 1,217 to edge out Rock Valley College from Rockford, Ill., which shot a 299 for a 1,223. So Rock Valley was six shots short of becoming the second team to win three titles since the event has been held on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club.
Monroe is the first team to win three times because the Tribunes also won in 2004.
The Monroe Community College Tribunes successfully defended their title in the NJCAA Division III National Golf Tournament on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club. From left are Coach John Graham, sophomores Ben Finn and Tyler Phillips, and freshmen Matt DeJohn, Eric Principino and Tim McCall. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
See NJCAA, Page B-2
Rock Valley won back to back in 2001 and 2002 and Nassau CC from Garden City, N.Y, won two in a row in 2007 and 2008.
Nassau, which was in second place after the first two rounds, finished in fourth place after shooting a 318 on Friday for a 1,244 total. It had to use a score of 91 when one of its players was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Moving past Nassau into third place was Sandhills CC from Pinehurst, N.C., which shot the low score of the day, a 296, for a 1,231 total.
Host Jamestown CC saved its best for last as the Jayhawks shot their best round with a 309 with three players in the 70s. JCC finished with 1,288 and moved from 10th place to finish in ninth.
'It was an exciting last day for us,'' JCC coach Bill Burk said. ''This is a game of what could have been and I think they're starting to feel that today. I'm just telling them to be proud of how they finished out the tournament. They throw up a 309 and that kind of makes them feel they belonged here the whole week. They just got a bad start and couldn't recover from it.''
Monroe never had to recover as it has led every round for the past two years.
''That's a real testament to (coach) John Graham and that program,'' Burk said. ''He's a fantastic coach and a great teacher of the game. Everything they get, they deserve, so my hat's off that program.''
Last year Monroe led by 23 shots heading into the final round and won by 30, but it was quite different on Friday.
''It was pretty nerve wracking,'' Graham said. ''I was running around doing math, trying to figure out how we stood. I was asking the guys how they were doing compared to the other team, it was changing so fast. We were doing OK, then we were down, then we came back.''
Near the end of the day, Graham finally knew the repeat looked pretty good.
''With two holes left with two guys left,'' was when he said he finally knew.
Monroe was led by Matt DeJohn with a 1-under-par 71 while Tyler Phillips had a 74, Ben Finn a 75 and Tim McCall and Eric Principino had 81s, so one had to be used.
Rock Valley's scores were Anthony Ciaccio and Bryce Davis with 73s. Shayne Overall 76, Andrew Canfield 77 and Andy Wilkinson's 78 was thrown out.
''We lost by four and shot a 299,'' Rock Valley coach Steve Benjamin said. ''All five guys did their jobs. Especially out of the five and four, bringing in those good scores right away. I knew that would be a big help with the team score, which it was. But Monroe's a good team, they're solid in the top three spots and that's what won it for them. They kind of stayed with my three guys.''
''That was the big difference,'' he said. ''Our three guys were low enough to make up for the higher fourth score that we had pretty much all week.''
A big turning point for Monroe was at No. 9 where Finn was 1 under and took a triple-bogey.
''That kind of threw me for a loop because I knew those three shots were going to be pretty big,'' Graham said.
Then Finn came back with par at 10 and got back on track.
''I'm pleased, we didn't lose it, we got beat,'' Benjamin said. ''You always hate to lose. I wanted that third national title in this decade, but maybe next year.''
JCC started on the back nine and Marcus Stephens and Ben Abbate led the hosts with 3-over 75s, the first time each shot in the 70s.
''This was the worst I hit the ball all week,'' said Stephens after he shot an even-par 37 on the back nine and a 1-over 38 on the front. ''I finally got some putts to drop.''
He had two birdies. At the par-5 16th he put his third shot a foot from the cup and on the par-5 fifth he left his eagle put half an inch short.
Abbate got off to a great start by reaching the par-5 10th in two and two-putted for a birdie.
''I was happy to lag it down there and tap it in,'' the Panama Central School graduate said.
And that's what got his round going as he shot a 2-under 35 on the back and and 5-over 40 on the front.
''Today was all about confidence for me,'' Abbate said. ''Starting with two good shots on 10 got me rolling.''
Charles Fitzpatrick also broke 80 with a 79. And like Abbate, he started with a two-putt birdie at 10.
''Starting with a birdie; love it,'' he said.
He also birdied the par-5 fifth hole with two putts when his second shot reached the green from 257 yards.
JCC's other scores were Kody Klinginsmith with an 80 and Mike Swanson's 83 was tossed out.
Complete results are available at www.sunyjcc.edu/njcaa.
Rock Valley College 312-300-312-299-1,223
Cincinnati State TCT 311-314-315-305-1,245
Ga.Military Academy 322-316-327-300-1,265
Rochester CTC 321-329-315-307-1,272
Erie CC 317-312-338-306-1,273
Jamestown CC 331-321-327-309-1,288
Burlington County Coll.324-329-320-319-1,292
Ocean County College 332-336-340-332-1,340
CC of Rhode Island 349-344-335-319-1,347
Anne Arundel CC 335-334-351-348-1,,368
TOP 15 INDIVIDUALS (PLUS TIES)
Chris Ferraro, SUNY Ulster 70-77-70-69-286
A. Steinhofer, Madison Coll.73-72-72-70-287
Mike Midgette, Nassau CC 74-76-74-73-297
Matt DeJohn, Monroe CC 78-75-73-71-297
A. Ciaccio, Rock Valley 77-73-74-73-297
Ben Finn Monroe CC 72-75-76-75-298
Tyler Phillips, Monroe CC 74-75-78-74-301
Chris Horne, Sandhills CC 76-74-80-72-302
Ray Weinmann Nassau CC 75-73-80-75-303
Ben Kline, Rochester CTC78-80-76-70-304
B.Harpenau, Cincinnati CTC 75-80-77-71-304
Bryce Davis, Rock Valley76-76-80-73-305
T. Woodward, Jefferson CC 76-74-70-77-306
C. Kennedy, MontgomeryColl. 76-83-77-71-307
B.Warken, Cincinnati CTC73-79-81-74-307