PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – The nationally third-ranked USC Aiken men’s golf team claimed the team title at the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Men’s Golf Championship at the Mountain View Course at Callaway Gardens.
USCA concluded the three rounds of the Peach Belt Conference Men’s Golf Championship with a team score of 873 (300-282-291).
The total of 873 allowed the Pacers to finish two strokes better than second-place finisher and current national No. 10 Columbus State (298-291-286).
Down the stretch Columbus state closed in on the Pacers before USCA made some big shots to close out the tournament.
“There was a lot of pressure on every swing of the club and I’m really proud of the way the team was able to come through,” said Pacer head coach Michael Carlisle.
Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year Matt Atkins was a big part of the Pacers holding on to the lead. Atkins, the individual medalist at the championship, finished his three rounds with a 4-under score of 212 (78-65-69).
Atkins’ final round included an eagle on No. 16 that Carlisle described as the “biggest putt of the tournament.”
“He hit a great shot off the tee and then hit a hybrid from about 230 out and put it right in the middle of the green,” Carlisle said. “He finished it off with a good putt.”
Atkins was aware of how big the hole was at the time.
“It was huge to get a little breathing room for our team,” he said.
Atkins now has three individual wins in his Pacer career. Earlier this season, Atkins claimed individual medalist honors at the 16th Annual Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate. The 2012 First-Team All-American also claimed top honors at the 2012 NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional.
Atkins was happy with the win but has his eyes on bigger success for this version of the team, which is on their final postseason run together.
“We have four guys who won’t be back next year so we’re really just excited to play the rest of the postseason together,” Atkins said. “We look forward to contending at regionals and trying to get another championship for the school.”
The entire Pacer squad including Atkins’ fellow seniors finished the tournament in the top 30. Mark Dickson closed out the Peach Belt Conference Championship in a tie for fifth at 219 (71-73-75).The fifth place finish allowed Dickson to join Atkins on the 2013 PBC All-Tournament Team. JP Solis tied for 17th at 222 (74-69-79). Taylor Welborn finished in a tie for 28th. Hayden Letien tied for 25th at 226 (79-75-72).
“From day one it was a good team effort,” Carlisle said. “One golfer can’t do it all alone, we got contributions from everybody.
The field for the South/Southeast Regional will be unveiled at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 26. USCA will make its 21st appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament in the last 22 years.
The Pacers have nine PBC team championships.
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