College Golf

Kennesaw State passes South Florida for Rees Jones title at Haig Point

sports@islandpacket.comSeptember 24, 2013 

Junior Kelby Burton shot a 1-under-par 71 and junior Jimmy Beck birdied the final hole Tuesday to give Kennesaw State a come-from-behind win at the sixth annual Rees Jones Collegiate Invitational at Haig Point Club on Daufuskie Island.

The Owls finished with a three-day total of 21-over 885. Kennesaw State started the day four strokes behind South Florida, but finished with two ahead of the Bulls and host South Carolina.

Kennesaw State also won the tournament in 2010 and 2011.

Defending champion Liberty finished seventh in the 12-team field.

South Florida's Chase Koepka was the tournament medalist, carding a 54-hole total of 4-under 212.

"It's pretty awesome," Kennesaw State coach Jay Moseley said. "We didn't have a good taste in our mouths after last year. I'm proud of the guys. I knew this was going to be a tough test, especially with the wind blowing 30 miles an hour."

Burton, who shot rounds of 73-81-71, had seven birdies in his final round. He was one of only two players to shoot under par Tuesday.

"Things just went my way today, said the junior from Augusta, Ga. "I made some putts and I even chipped in once today."

But the Owls needed a big finish from their top player to earn the title, and he delivered with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 final hole.

"Coach told me on the 15th tee that the team score was close and that every shot mattered," said Beck, a junior from Columbus, Ga., who was the individual runner-up last year. "I figured it was going to be like that."

Beck led his team with a total of 3-over 219. He was followed by Burton and Chris Guglielmo at 225, and Jonathan Klotz at 228.

The close loss spoiled the first collegiate win for Koepka, a sophomore from West Palm Beach, Fla., who tied for low round of the tournament with a first-round 68. He followed that with rounds of 70 and 74, despite starting his last round with a double bogey.

"This is one of the hardest golf courses I've ever played, with this wind," said Koepka. "I am happy to play as well as I did after starting with a double bogey. My goal after that was to try and get it back to par."

There were only 17 rounds under par for the tournament over the 7,380-yard, par-72 layout that is acclaimed as one of the top 100 courses in the country. The signature par-3 holes of Nos. 8 and 17 were among the hardest holes on the course, which played to a high average of 78.1 on the final day. The average score for the other two rounds was 75.

Final Team Standings

Kennesaw State 885, South Carolina 887, South Florida 887, UNC-Wilmington 894, East Carolina 899, Middle Tennessee 900, Liberty 901, Charlotte 903, Winthrop 909, Troy 909, Georgia State 923, Charleston Southern 950

Final Individual Leaders

Chase Koepka, South Florida 212 (-4)

Payne McLeod, UNC-Wilmington 216 (E)

Zach Seabolt, Winthrop 217 (+1)

Matt NeSmith, South Carolina 218 (+2)

Jimmy Beck, Kennesaw St. 219 (+3)

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