PAWLEY'S ISLAND, S.C. – Jacksonville University's men's golf team has won the 2015 GolfWeek Program Challenge with a three-round score of 30-under 834, and JU's David Wicks won the individual medal thanks to a three-round score of 13-under 203.
"It was a nice way to open up the season," said Head Coach Mike Blackburn. "After losing the lead briefly on the front nine, the boys rallied with a six-under back nine to secure the win."
Wicks won the individual medal, but it took a team effort to win the tournament. Franck Medale also had an incredible three rounds, carding ten-under 206 to tie for third place. Raul Pereda tied for 17th overall at four-under 212, Ryan Jahn tied for 35th overall at one-over 217, and Prem Samritpricha rounded out the championship team with a score of eight-over 224.
It took quite a lot for Wicks to win the individual title. James Madison's Ryan Cole was in first place at 12-under 204 while Wicks was still out on the course, and Wicks had to par the final three holes to secure his individual and the team championship.
"I'm always confident going into tournaments, but I didn't expect to come into my first tournament and win," said Wicks. "More importantly, our team managed to win. It was a good chase by James Madison. Our main goal was to come in and win as a team, and we accomplished that."
Blackburn explained how the Dolphins managed to keep the lead through all three rounds of the tournament, despite the limited practice time they had and the tough conditions on the course Monday.
"What little time we've had, we've focused on short game," said Blackburn. "When you don't have your best game, you can manufacture a score through your short game. That's what we've started working on and we're going to continue there."
The overall Program Challenge winner was Campbell University, whose men's and women's program combined to finish +9. Second was Old Dominion with a combined score of +14, and in third was Mercer with a +19. Elon came in fourth with a +23 combined score, and Jacksonville rounded out the top five with a combined score of +26.
The men's golf team tees off again this coming Sunday at the Bridgestone Match Play at the Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga.
Fans can follow all the action from the 2015 season on JUDolphins.com, through twitter @JUVolleyball, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleUniversityAthletics.