The Beast of Nature; weather cancels Final 18 of OVC Men’s Golf Tourney
DICKSON, Tenn. - After Mother Nature did not allow any golf to be played on the third and final day of the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference Men's Golf Championship at GreyStone Golf Club, the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles finished in sixth place with a team score of 591 (+15) over two days and saw one golfer in Lee Maxwell break into the top 10.
Jacksonville State was declared the champion, marking the third time (2004, 2007) that the Gamecocks have won the OVC men's golf crown. JSU had a commanding 18-stroke lead after round two of the Championship and had already established OVC Championship records for team single round (280, -8) and team two round scores (561, -15) when play was halted.
Golden Eagle golfer Lee Maxwell finished with a score of 143 (-1) at the conclusion of the tournament, tied in ninth place with Tennessee State's Richard Gill. Maxwell improved his score by two strokes as he finished at +1 after the first day of play, shooting a 70 on his second round as opposed to a 73 on round one.
2011 marks the fourth time in the last five years that the team championship had been decided by more than 10 strokes. It also marks the fourth different school to win the OVC Men's Golf Championship over the last four seasons.
Heavy rains and severe weather moved into the Dickson and middle Tennessee area late on Tuesday night which left the course water-logged and with more rain and storms predicted throughout the day, the tournament committee decided early on Wednesday to cancel the final 18 holes.
By completing just 36 holes it marked the first time since the 2000 Championship that the event had not gone the scheduled 54-hole distance (it also went 36 holes in that year when Middle Tennessee claimed the crown).
UT Martin followed JSU for a second place finished with a score of 579 (+3), while defending champion Murray State finished third (+4) and was followed by Eastern Kentucky (+6), Austin Peay (+9), Tennessee Tech (+15), Tennessee State (+18), Eastern Illinois (+20) and Morehead State (+23).
Jacksonville State's James Hobbs was voted OVC Coach of the Year, marking the third time he has won the award. Murray State senior Cameron Carrico, who had the top stroke average and GolfStat National Ranking in the league during the season, was voted OVC Player of the Year by the league head coaches; Carrico finished one shot back of the individual medalist race.
The individual medalist race ended in a three-way tie, the first time that has happened in Conference history dating back to 1949 (there had previously been a two-way tie in each 1995 and 2004). Eastern Kentucky sophomore Johan Eriksson, Jacksonville State sophomore Andres Schonbaum and his teammate Matthew Wallace (the 2011 OVC Freshman of the Year) each finished at 5-under for the 36 holes. As part of the winning team Schonbaum and Wallace automatically advance to NCAA Championship play, and as a result Eriksson will be the OVC medalist designee to receive an automatic bid to compete and an individual in the NCAA Championship.
The All-Tournament Team, which is comprised of the top five finishers (with ties), included Eriksson, Schonbaum, Wallace, Carrico, UT Martin's John Michael Sisinni and Jacksonville State's Gonzalo Berlin.
OVC All-Tournament Team
Johan Eriksson, Eastern Kentucky (Tri-MVP)
Andres Schonbaum, Jacksonville State (Tri-MVP)
Matthew Wallace, Jacksonville State (Tri-MVP)
Cameron Carrico, Murray State
John Michael Sisinni, UT Martin
Gonzalo Berlin, Jacksonville State
OVC Player of the Year: Cameron Carrico, Murray State
OVC Coach of the Year: James Hobbs, Jacksonville State
OVC Freshman of the Year: Matthew Wallace, Jacksonville State