May 23, 2003
Francis Marion University took a 19 stroke lead into Friday's final round then cruised to the title as it won its first men's golf national championship by a commanding 14-stroke margin following Friday's round at the 2003 NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championships at the par 72, 7,296-yard Crosswater Club.
Francis Marion (284-286-285-294-1149), was a definite underdog heading into the tournament, having finished fourth in its conference tournament and second in the Southeast Regional. But the Patriots wasted no time taking over the top spot after day one and never relinquished the lead.
Francis Marion put up a three-stroke lead after day one and pulled away from the crowd each day after that, increasing its lead to eight strokes, and finally 19 strokes entering today's final round.
The race became a battle for second place, which defending Division II Champion Rollins College (303-286-288-286-1163) was able to win. They did it the same way they won the national title last year, coming from behind. Rollins stood in 11th place out of the 18 teams after day one, moved up to eighth on day two, and then into a tie for fourth on day three. Three teams from the West Region took third through fifth place: Cal State Stanislaus (292-288-294-297-1171) finished third; Cal State Bakersfield (295-287-296-294-1172) fourth; and tournament host Chico State (296-282-304-292-1174) round out the top five finishers. UC Davis (298-291-292-298-1179), which entered the day tied for 8th, struggled over the final few holes and fell to ninth, 30 eight strokes out of third place.
Andrew McArthur from Pfeiffer University (72-69-69-69-279), who stood in third place coming into the final round, shot a 3-under 69 to take home top medalist honors. Scott Usher from University South Carolina-Aiken (71-65-72-73-281) finished second after holding the lead after days two and three. Grand Canyon's Tommy Medina (72-67-73-70-282) took third place. Bill Noon of Cal State Bakersfield (72-72-69-71-284) and Fredrik Ohlsson round out the top five individual finishers.
The Aggies were led by junior Jay Westerlund (76-73-72-71-292), who improved each round to finish tied for 15th with a 4-over par, 292. Westerlund's strong finish over the final three rounds allowed him to move past former teammate Jason Boyd to take the Aggie single-season school record with a season stroke average of 72.90, edging Boyd's 72.91 set last year. Scott Gordon (71-70-77-76-294) finished tied for 21st, Eric Restrepo (76-72-72-77-297) tied for 33rd, Brett Borchers (75-76-74-76-301) tied for 52nd and Chris Kilkenny (80-76-74-75-305) tied for 66th.
"We were right in there today, but just didn't finish strong," said Aggie Head Coach Cy Williams. "We had a chance late in the round to finish in the top three, but we didn't get it done. The positive is that we were in the hunt and not everyone can say that."
UC Davis concludes its 2003 season with its eighth straight appearance at the NCAA Championships and fourth straight Top 10 finish.
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