For the first time in 15 years, a Tennessee golfer is the best in the Southeastern Conference.
David Skinns, a senior from London, claimed the individual title at the SEC Championships in Sea Island, Ga., on Sunday. His scorecard of 72-70-68=210 (E) was good enough for a one-stroke victory over Georgia’s Richard Scott.
Skinns became the first Vol since Mike Sposa in 1990 to win the individual title. He is the fourth Tennessee golfer to win the title, joining Sposa, Bert Greene (1964) and Mickey Mabry (1972).
In the team standings, the 16th-ranked Vols finished fifth with a scorecard of 298-298-293=889, 14 strokes back of first-place Kentucky.
Skinns began the day in a tie for second with Gator Todd of Alabama, trailing Scott by one stroke. But three straight birdies on holes 6-8 gave him a two-stroke lead at the turn.
After a bogey on No. 12, Skinns came back with another run of three straight birdies on Nos. 13-15 to get to 4-under for the round. He bogeyed 17 and 18, but held on to take the title.
Freshman Philip Pettit was next for UT in a tie for 14th with a 222 (+12). Ross McGowan was next with a 226 (+16), which was good enough for a 20th-place tie.
Kentucky took the team title with a 290-302-283=875. Auburn was two strokes back in second place, and second-ranked Georgia was third.
The Vols now await their destination for the NCAA regionals. The sites are Nashville, South Bend, Ind., and Palo Alto, Calif.
Shepley finishes third for Lady Vols: Jessica Shepley took third place in the SEC Women’s Golf Championships on Sunday in Tunica, Miss., while the Lady Vols finished just two shots out of a potential playoff.
Tennessee’s team total of 906 left them in a tie for fourth place with LSU while Auburn, tied with Georgia after 54 holes at 904, took their fifth conference title in a playoff.
Shepley’s finish matches the sixth-best in UT history and improves upon her previous high of fourth place from last year.
Sarah Bonner-Shanks, a native of Kingsport, fired a one-under 71 on Sunday, matching her collegiate low score. After she struggled to an 85 in the first round, she managed to fight her way to a tie for 22nd place.
Golda Johansson matched Bonner-Shanks’ total of 230 to tie for 22nd as well. Violeta Retamoza carded a final-round 81 on her way to a 30th-place finish.
The Lady Vols will either be sent to Gainesville, Fla., Las Cruces, N.M., or Lubbock, Texas, for their NCAA regional.