A frost delay Monday morning at the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate left Georgia Southern golf coach Larry Mays scrambling for answers the next afternoon.
The later start time forced second-round action to end prematurely on Day 1, meaning Mays' Eagles would spend all three rounds playing alongside Francis Marion, which led by a stroke after the first day. With scores being collected downstairs at the Wexford Plantation Golf Club but tabulated upstairs, the coach had to wander around the dining room trying to find out whether his team had come out on top.
"We didn't know we won until 15 minutes ago," he said, moments after posing with the latest glass trophy his team walked away with. "... You're kind of asking around. We were asking everybody what they were shooting."
His search for answers was pointless. The results were much the same as they have been all season, as Georgia Southern walked away with an eight-stroke win over Francis Marion on Tuesday afternoon. The Eagles, who finished with a two-day team total of 879, used a torrid second round to push past the Patriots en route to their third team championship of the season.
Georgia Southern also took home titles at the AutoTrade Collegiate Classic and the ODU/OBC Intercollegiate last fall. The Eagles have finished in the upper half in all but one of their seven tournaments this season.
"I really thought with the way we finished the second round and the way we finished the third round, I thought somebody had clipped us, to be honest," Mays said. " ... We were so spread out from everybody else we really didn't know what was going on."
There was little reason for concern, though, as Scott Wolfes fired a 2-under-par 70 in the final round to finish 2 under for the tournament, good for a second-place finish. The sophomore, who has placed first or second in five events this season, was 3 under at the turn Monday evening after holing out on No. 9 for eagle when play concluded due to darkness.
He played 1 over from there to end the round before helping his team to the title over the final 18 holes, thanks in part to teammate Hayden Anderson's even-par 216.
"We're finally living up to our potential," said Wolfes, who finished alongside Western Carolina's J.T. Poston with a two-day total of 214. "It's nice to see."
The Eagles erased a five-shot deficit after the opening round, as Georgia Southern bested Francis Marion by 10 strokes over the next 18 holes. The Patriots made it interesting in the final round thanks to Tobias Pettersen's course-record 4-under 68, but came up short.
"I heard something about 69 being the best, but I didn't know," said Pettersen, whose third-round 68 was also matched by Georgia State's J.J. Grey. "I was pretty surprised that it was 68, but I'm happy with that."
Francis Marion (887) finished one shot ahead of South Florida and Richmond. The Spiders gave away a three-stroke, second-round lead after combining for a 17-over 305 on the final round.
Monday's frost delay created a first for most golfers, as teams used the same pins for all three rounds in addition to playing with the same groups. But changing conditions still managed to throw off some, as Monday's cold temperatures preceded windy and rainy weather on Tuesday.
South Florida's Trey Valentine wasn't one of those affected. The sophomore walked away with the individual championship -- his first win in college -- after firing a 3-under 69 in the opening round and scores of 73 and 70 over the next 36 holes.
Nerves struck the Melbourne, Fla., native late, as coach Chris Malloy opted to walk with him midway through the final round. He promptly shot bogey, double bogey and bogey on Nos. 10-12 but rebounded to birdie five of his last nine holes, including the final two.
"I was kind of shaken up a little bit," he said. "But my coach just said, 'Keep your head up, have a positive attitude and everything is going to be all right.' I did exactly what he said."
Wexford Plantation Golf Course; Par 72
1. Georgia Southern 879, 2. Francis Marion 887, T3. Richmond 888, T3. South Florida 888, 5. Samford 897, 6. Davidson 899, 7. Georgia State 900, 8. Presbyterian 901, 9. USC Aiken 912, 10. William & Mary 917, 11. DePaul 921, 12. Radford 922, T13. Elon 925, T13. Western Carolina 925, 15. Campbell 928, 16. Connecticut 934, 17. Dayton 941, 18. Ohio 942
Top 10 Individuals
1. Trey Valentine, South Florida 69-73-70--212
T2. Scott Wolfes, Georgia Southern 73-71-70--214
T2. J.T. Poston, Western Carolina 70-71-73--214
4. Chase Koepka, South Florida 72-73-70--215
5. Hayden Anderson, Georgia Southern 71-72-73--216
6. Matt Atkins, USC Aiken 74-69-74--217
7. Jonathan Grey, Georgia State 72-78-68--218
8. Amanjyot Singh, Campbell 71-72-76--219
T9. Weston Eklund, Radford 74-77-69--220
T9. Tobias Pettersen, Francis Marion 74-78-68--220