GREENSBORO, N.C. - The LaGrange golf team capped a remarkable 2014-15 season with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Division III National Championship. It was the highest finish by any Panther team in an NCAA national tournament.
The Panthers shot a team score of 296 for a tournament total of 1,176, three shots behind USA South rival Methodist. Wittenberg, Berry and Redlands rounded out the top five.
"We gave it all we had and this will hurt for a couple of days," said Coach Lee Richter. "We came up short, we just needed a few more birdies."
The Panthers started the day in third place, four shots off the lead. They still trailed by four after the first nine holes of the day.
Howard came to the 18th hole needing to make birdie to force a playoff with Methodist. Lanier, playing in the group ahead, had a possible birdie putt lip the cup. Howard's third shot of the hole was long and his chip for a tournament-tying birdie was off the mark.
"You can't get much tighter than to come down to the 72nd hole of the national tournament, just one shot behind," said Richter.
Lanier led the Panthers with a three-under par 69 to tie for eighth in the individual standings. He made four birdies on the day against only one bogey.
Howard had a two-over par 74 in his final collegiate round to tie for 11th. Afterwards, he was named to the PING All-American team for the third year in a row.
"Cory was a great player and helped me build the program," Richter said. "We'll really miss him."
During the 2014-15 season, the Panthers won a school-record four tournaments, including their second straight USA South Tournament championship.