Compared to the wind tunnel disguised as Wednesday, Penn State men's golf coach Greg Nye called Thursday "a great day in paradise."
A day after high winds forced the organizers of the Colleton River Collegiate to trim Day 1 to 18 holes, the golfers got a picture-perfect day to squeeze in 36 holes.
Nye's Nittany Lions played lights out for 18 of those holes and rolled to an 11-stroke win at Colleton River Plantation's Dye Course.
"Our round (Thursday) morning was not as good as it could have been," Nye said, "but the round of the tournament was ours in the afternoon."
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The Nittany Lions shot a tournament-best round of 292 for a three-day score of 916 and kept Michigan and host Michigan State at bay at 927. Detroit Mercy finished at 964.
Penn State was led by freshman Chris Houston, whose third-round 71 put him in a three-way tie for medalist with Michigan State teammates Matthew Mosely and Gareth Blease.
"He's a superb junior player," Nye said. "He hits it straight and he putts real well. He was 1 under through 9, parred 10 and had four birdies in a row in a run on the final nine."
Houston's team came out on top, but Mosely won the scorecard tiebreaker for the individual title.
"I hit a lot of good shots, I drove the ball well," Mosely said. "I left myself a lot of good opportunities. I didn't convert them all, but I put myself in a good position."
Mosely said the trip south early in the season for the warm weather has become a familiar one for the Spartans.
"It's good to get in a few raps," Mosely said. "Michigan State has good facilities, a driving range and stuff, but it's just not realistic."
Penn State's Jay Woodward said the wind made conditions almost unplayable Wednesday. Woodward, a former Hilton Head Island resident whose parents still live on the island and whose brother, Will, attended Hilton Head Prep and will play for Wake Forest, said his ball moved as much as 2 feet on one green.
"Colleton is tough with no wind," said Woodward, who finished fourth at 229.
Nonetheless, Woodward was happy to see his parents and brother, whom he normally sees only on school breaks.
"It's awesome, especially playing Colleton," Woodward said.
Wind or no wind, win or lose, Penn State's Nye said the real takeaway for the teams this early in the season was that they made progress.
"Did they see progress?" Nye said. "Not just at Colleton, but at every place else they played this week? Did they see progress after their first real week outside?"
For Penn State, at least, the answer was yes.
Colleton River Collegiate
Colleton River Plantation, Dye Course
Par 72; 7,365 yards
1. Penn State 317-307-292--916
T2. Michigan 325-301-301--927
T2. Michigan State 330-298-299--927
4 Detroit Mercy 337-307-320--964
Top 5 Players
*1. Matthew Moseley, Mich. St. 78-71-79--228
T2. Chris Houston, Penn St. 80-77-71--228
T2. Gareth Blease, Mich. St. 81-73-74--228
4. Jay Woodward, Penn St. 78-77-74--229
T5. Anthony DeGol, Penn St. 81-75-75--231
T5. Xander McDonald-Smith, Penn St. 78-81-72--231