Golf: CHAMPIONS! Panthers claim second straight USA South Tournament championship

Golf: CHAMPIONS! Panthers claim second straight USA South Tournament championship

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - CHAMPIONS! The LaGrange golf team claimed its second straight USA South Tournament championship Sunday at the Benvenue Country Club.

The Panthers led wire-to-wire in winning their fourth tournament of the spring. The Panthers had a final round score of 298 for an 871 total, 19 shots ahead of runner-up Methodist.

The Panthers improved by 45 shots on their team score from last year's tournament, played on the same course.

Senior Cory Howard, the USA South Player of the Year, repeated as low medalist in the tournament. Howard was the only golfer in the tournament to finish under par, shooting a 6-under 210 total, finishing eight shots ahead of teammate Osborn Theam. Howard had rounds of 69, 70 and 71. 

"This is by far the best spring we've ever had; winning four of six tournaments that includes the conference championship and finishing second and third in the other two," said head coach Lee Richter. "Also getting ranked second in the nation is the highest ranking we have had in quite some time.

"I couldn't be prouder of a bunch of guys. They worked hard and it paid off."

Theam joined Howard on the All-Tournament team after a final round 77 for a 218 total. Logan Lanier shot 74 to place seventh with a 221 total and Ryan Najim gave the Panthers four in the top 10, tying for 10th with a 223 total. Eric Havixbeck rounded out the scoring for the Panthers with total score of 235.

The Panthers earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship to be played May 12-15 for the second straight year at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C. This will be the Panthers' eighth trip to the NCAA tournament and they tied for eighth at the 2014 championship.