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A day after tying the tournament scoring record, Derek Bard managed to come up with an encore.
Bard, a freshman playing his first collegiate tournament, sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday, giving Virginia a one-stroke victory in the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at Blackthorn Club.
“For a freshman to make that putt .... that’s awesome, really good stuff,” said Virginia coach Bowen Sargent,whose team won this tournament for the second time.
Virginia finished 22 under par, while Virginia Tech was 21 under and Kent State was 20 under. Host school East Tennessee State finished fourth at 12 under.
Virginia Tech’s Scott Vincent won the individual championship by two shots after shooting 68, his third sub-70 round of the weekend.
When the final group of Bard, Vincent and Kent State’s Corey Conners approached the final green, Virginia was one stroke ahead of the Hokies and Kent State.
Vincent faced a 25-foot birdie putt, one he needed to make if the Hokies were going to have a chance. He drained it to claim the individual championship in record-tying score of 13 under par.
It also put the Hokies in a momentary tie for the lead.
After Conners missed his birdie try, the stage was set for Bard. When his putt fell, he pumped his fist as his team let out a collective yell.
“It’s pretty crazy,” said Bard, who shot 72 a day after posting a 64. “It didn’t hit me until Scott was putting that Virginia Tech was only one back. I was like ‘Wow, if he makes this, we’re tied.’ It didn’t really shock me that he made it, and I was able to go up there and do the same thing. It’s pretty cool.”
Vincent was virtually assured of the individual title before his dramatic putt, but that one allowed him to tie the 54-hole record set by Kent State’s MacKenzie Hughes in 2010.
“I felt great,” Vincent said. “I was just so pumped because I knew that putt gave us a chance and it lies in the Virginia player’s hands now. Obviously, he stepped up there and knocked in. Great for him. That was a big moment.”
Vincent, a junior from Zimbabwe, has won three tournaments this fall. He won by two over Virginia’s Denny Mccarthy and Wake Forest’s Thomas Birdsey.
“I’m trying to play as well as I can and help my team win,” Vincent said. “I’ve managed to find some good form right now.”
Virginia, which set the tournament’s single-round record Saturday with a 16-under-par performance, shot 13 under in the final round.
“Our guys putted awfully well the past two days,” Sargent said. “They limited their mistakes and played just good, sound golf. It’s fun to watch, fun to coach. It’s great to watch a team mature.”
McCarthy led the way for Virginia with his second consecutive 66. Ji Soo Park added a 67 for the Cavaliers.
Virginia Tech got 68s from Vincent, Bryce Chalkley and Trevor Cone.
Kent State began the day with a two-stroke lead and coach Herb Page said his team would need to shoot 10 under par on Sunday. How right he was. An eight-under day left his team two strokes back.
ETSU began the day four shots off the lead, and while the Bucs posted four solid scores, they couldn’t go low enough to contend. The shot four under on Sunday.
Rhys Pugh was the Bucs’ top finisher, tying for eighth place after a closing 72 left him at six under par. ETSU’s low man on Sunday was Chris Hickman, who shot 70.
The Bucs also got 71s from Adrian Meronk and Gudmundur Kristjansson and they threw out a 79 from Mateusz Gradecki.
“We played better today,” ETSU coach Fred Warren said. “Yesterday probably knocked us out, and it was really just two holes. We were 10 over par on the 11th and 17th holes yesterday. We have a young team and I’m pleased they came back today and shot a good round.”