USC Beaufort

USCB men win conference tourney; Nakano takes women's title

The final day of the Sun Conference Championships became a historic one for the USC Beaufort golf teams, as the Sand Shark men claimed the school's first conference title in any sport and sophomore Kelli Nakano won the women's individual title Tuesday at the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

USCB's men were nine shots behind St. Thomas going into the final round, but the Sand Sharks posted the best team score of the 54-hole tournament with a 286, giving them a four-shot win over the Bobcats.

Jon Pannone led USCB, tying for second at 2-under-par 214, nine shots behind St. Thomas' Estaban Aristizabal.

The Sand Shark women were unable to make up any ground on first-round leader Northwood, but Nakano posted the best individual round of the 36-hole event with an even-par 72 to finish at 5-over-par 149.

"I've been playing well recently, so I knew that I could shoot a good number, but I didn't expect to win, so it was really surprising," Nakano said, noting the key to her success was being accurate off the tee to avoid trouble.

Nakano edged Northwood's Melanie Roux by two shots and finished four shots ahead of teammate Kaitlin O'Sullivan and Embry-Riddle's Pia Jenko. Embry-Riddle's Heather Wiquist, a former Bluffton High School standout, tied for ninth.

The USCB men earn an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championships, which will be held May 24-27 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. Nakano also punched her ticket to nationals at Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville, Tenn., but she hopes her teammates will join her when at-large team bids go out.

"We'll just have to wait and see," Nakano said. "But we think we have a good chance of making it."

Sun Conference Championships

Men

Team scores

USC Beaufort 287-300-286--873

St. Thomas 289-289-299--877

Johnson & Wales 294-293-292--879

Southeastern 301-295-287--883

SCAD Savannah 286-295-303--884

Webber International 295-290-303--888

Northwood 291-300-301--892

Embry-Riddle 297-302-296--895

Top individuals

Estaban Aristizabal, STU 67-69-69--205

Elrick Von Eck, N'wood 66-73-75--214

Jon Pannone, USCB 69-75-70--214

Drew Matthews, SoEastrn 75-71-71--217

Chris Burke, SoEastrn 71-74-72--217

Sean Metcalf, SCAD 65-75-77--217

Isaac Spencer, SoEastrn 74-74-69--217

Chris Hawley, JWU 73-75-70--218

Jason Harris JWU 75-71-72--218

Brett McCurdy Jr., N'wood 76-71-71--218

Other USCB scores

George Thacker 73-75-71--219

Luke McClellan 72-77-70--219

Jack Bingham 74-73-79--226

Chris Lane II 73-78-75--226

Women

Team scores

Northwood 307-309--616

Embry-Riddle 318-305--623

USC Beaufort 317-309--626

SCAD Savannah 316-321--637

Webber International 336-358--694

Warner 380-368--748

Top individuals

Kelli Nakano, USCB 77-72--149

Melanie Roux, N'wood 75-76--151

Kaitlin O'Sullivan, USCB 75-78--153

Pia Jenko, EmbryRdq78-75--153

Mary-Michael Burns, SCAD 77-77--154

Danelle Girard, N'wood 80-75--155

Emelie Andersson, N'wood 76-79--155

Anne Mason, SCAD 77-78--155

Heather Wiquist, EmbryRd 78-78--156

Bea Serra, EmbryRd 78-78--156

Other USCB scores

Adriana Saavedra 79-81--160

Kendra Collins 87-78--165

Sophie Henke 86-84--170

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