SAVANNAH, Ga. – Sophomore David Watkins shot a three-under par 69 in the third and final round to win individual medalist honors and pace the East Carolina men’s golf team to the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate team title on Tuesday at Savannah Quarters Country Club.
The victory was Watkins’ first of his collegiate career and first by an ECU player outside of Greenville since Jason Harris won the Georgetown Hoya Invitational in 2002.
ECU had four players finish in the top-20 with sophomore Jake Colley (72-70-72) tying for seventh (-2) and junior Warren Straub (74-72-73) and Harold Varner (71-74-74) tying for 19th (+3) as East Carolina shot a 12-under 852 to win its first tournament title of the season by 19 shots.
"We knew we had a very talented and young team coming into the year," Pirate head coach Press McPhaul said. "We didn’t get off to a good start this season, but the guys took the challenge upon themselves to work harder than the ever had before.
“I’m so glad that they were finally able to see the fruits of their labor today.”
Wofford finished in second place with a seven-over 871 followed by Furman (872), Old Dominion (873) and Georgia Southern (875).
East Carolina shot a four-under 284 in the first round, an eight-under 280 in the second round and an even-par 288 in the final round to give coach McPhaul his fourth title with the team in four years.
Watkins held a two-stroke entering the final round of the tournament and responded by recording the second-lowest round of his career. Watkins finished with a score of 11-under 205 (68-68-69), the lowest 54-hole score oh his career.
"I hadn’t been playing great coming into the tournament, but once I got my scorecard I was ready," Watkins said. "I really tried to minimize my mistakes and focus on striking the ball well."
Georgia Southern’s Ryan Zabroske (75-67-69) and Furman’s Daniel Bowden (72-67-72) finished tied for second place at five-under 211.
Watkins recorded 14 birdies against just three bogeys during the 54-hole event, while the Pirates led all teams with 52 birdies over the course of the tournament.
“Everything fell in place for us,” Watkins said. “We have been working very hard and it paid off for us today. I think we will go into future tournaments with a lot more confidence now.”
ECU freshman Michael Marshburn tied for 27th with a six-over 222 (73-70-79).
The Pirates will close out the 2009 fall season at the Hummingbird Invitational hosted by Western Carolina University in Sapphire Valley, N.C. on November 2-3.