It was an ominous start Tuesday for USC Beaufort's Brian Langley at Oldfield Golf Club in Okatie.
Twice in the fall, the junior golfer held a lead heading into the final round of an event.
Twice he lost the lead and ended up finishing second.
In the morning rain Tuesday, with a five-stroke lead to work with, Langley promptly bogeyed Nos. 1 and 3. And after making birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 to get back to even par for the day, he erased them with a double bogey on No. 8.
But then Langley did something he didn't do in the fall. He made 10 straight pars to close his final round at 2-over-par 74, good enough for a two-stroke win over Southeastern's Kyle Martin and to lead USC Beaufort to a repeat championship in its own Sand Shark Classic.
The Sand Sharks shot 292 to finish at 16-over-par 880, seven shots ahead of St. Thomas. The individual win was Langley's first as a Sand Shark.
"I started really shaky," Langley said. "It was a difficult start, but I pulled it together and it all worked out. I knew this was coming."
The difference for Langley may have been mental.
With USC Beaufort struggling recently, coach Chris Cuneo brought in Greg Hollis to speak at a team meeting last week. Hollis, an adjunct professor of psychology at USCB, worked with the team at Augusta State in 2010 and 2011 when they won back-fo-back NCAA Division I championships, and lately, he'd been working with Sand Sharks sophomore Andrew McCullough.
"We had a good team meeting," Cuneo said. "(Hollis) talked to them for about an hour about how to control your emotions and, I know it's an old golf adage, how to take it one hole at a time. And then he gave them some tools to do that."
Among Hollis' advice, Langley said, was to stay focused on every shot, "believe in your game and keep our heads together."
Langley said the talk had an impact on the team.
"We were struggling as a team and we really pulled it together," Langley said. "He got everybody motivated."
USC Beaufort senior Travis Cashion was among three golfers tied for third at 3-over-par 219.
Senior Tyler Jacobs (225) tied for 14th playing as an individual, and McCullough (226) also cracked the top 20 in a tie for 17th. Freshman Cory Cottrell and junior Owen Bell tied for 24th at 229, sophomore Chris Finke tied for 30th at 230 and freshman Bradford Curren tied for 37th at 231.
Sophomore Ryan Clancy (T-44th, 235), freshman Alex Mihai (T-67th, 247) and sophomore Shane Goldsmith (78th, 280) rounded out the Sand Sharks' scoring.
The Sand Sharks travel to Daytona Beach, Fla., on Monday for the Embry-Riddle Eagle Invitational.
USCB WOMEN FINISH 4TH
The USC Beaufort women's golf team wrapped up its strongest showing of the spring with a fourth-place finish in the Hilton Head Lakes Invitational.
USCB went into the final round in second place after an opening round of 306, but the Sand Sharks slipped two spots on the leaderboard after a 317 in the final round.
NCAA Division II power Lander paced the 13-team field at 604, seven shots ahead of Queens (N.C.). Mount Olive was third at 621, followed by the Sand Sharks at 623.
Senior Kelli Nakano (73-79--152) paced the Sand Sharks with a seventh-place finish, followed by senior Kaitlin O'Sullivan (74-82--156) in 14th and sophomore Tori DeGroodt (75-82--157) in 15th. Junior Kendra Collins (84-78--162) and sophomore Samantha O'Donnell (84-78--162) tied for 26th to round out the lineup.
Lander's Teresa Caballer Hernani won the individual title with a 4-under-par 140, five shots ahead of Elizabeth Swallow of King College.
The Sand Sharks have a long layoff before traveling to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the Embry-Riddle Bash At The Beach on April 6-7 at LPGA International.