The Methodist men’s golf team won its 11th NCAA Division III National Championship at the Grandover Resort on Friday as it edged LaGrange by a three strokes.
The Monarchs shot a final-round 292 to make up a five-stroke deficit on the final day and finished with a four-day score of 1,173 (284-302-295-292). MU was in the second-to-last grouping, and after Jeff Wells—the Green and Gold’s final competitor—holed a short putt for birdie on 18, had to wait upwards of an hour to see if the score would hold up. The score of 292 was the lowest round of any team on the final day.
LaGrange finished at 1,176 and had a chance to tie MU late in the round but a late birdie putt was just short and the Panthers were unable to convert a birdie chip that would have tied the Monarchs. Wittenberg finished in third at 1,177, Berry, the overnight leader, took fourth at 1,179, and Redlands rounded out the top five with a score of 1,186.
Wells led the Monarchs with a final-round 69 and finished in a tie for second place. He was five under par through his first 13 holes, but struggled with three straight bogeys on 15, 16, 17 before his clutch birdie on 18 clinched the title. Wells finished with a four-day score of 285 (69-74-73-69) and was six strokes behind individual winner Kelby Scharmann of La Verne (66-75-68-70–279).
Mason Stutler finished tied for 13th overall after carding a final-round 74 (+3). He had a four-day score of 293 (72-74-73-74) and had three birdies on the day. At the conclusion of play, both Wells and Stutler were named First Team All-Americans.
Aaron Purviance shot a final-round 76 and tied for 18th (71-77-70-76–294). Charles Maness finished in 74 (+2) on Friday and wound up tied for 56th as he had his best round of the tournament (75-80-79-74–308) including four birdies over his first eight holes.
Jackson Collier recovered from a rough third round to post a 75 and finish in 63rd (72-77-86-75–310). He was even par over the first nine holes and played his final nine holes in 39.
Methodist’s victory was its 11th since the Division III Tournament began 41 years ago. The only school with more titles is California State University, Stanislaus, which won 12 times from 1976 to 1981 and from 1984 to 1989. The school has since moved up to the NCAA Division II level.