Tennessee’s best round of the SEC Men’s Golf Championship was not enough to budge the Vols past 11th place on the team leaderboard, capping a frustrating weekend on St. Simons Island, Ga.
“Obviously this was a huge disappointment for us, especially given that we had such high hopes for this championship,” UT head coach Jim Kelson said. “With that being said, we still believe very strongly in this team. I have no doubt that this team will perform well in the upcoming NCAA championships.”
Tennessee learns its destination for the NCAA regionals May 4, with competition taking place May 14-16 at six sites: Austin, Texas; Bowling Green, Ky.; Daly City, Calif.; Galloway, N.J.; Sorrento, Fla.; and Stillwater, Okla. The NCAA Championship is set for May 26-30 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
UT (888) fired a 3-over-par 291 Sunday at Frederica Golf Club, capping the tournament at 24 strokes over par. Georgia (849) went wire-to-wire for its league-leading 27th SEC crown, winning this year by 13 strokes over second-place Arkansas (862). Florida (865) was third, but Sunday’s best team round belonged to LSU (872), which shot an 11-under 277 and moved from 10th into a tie for fourth with South Carolina (872).
Vols sophomore Robin Wingardh played his best golf on the weekend, following Saturday’s 71 with a two-under 70 in Sunday’s final round to finish all alone in 16th at two over par. His streak of consecutive top-20 finishes now stands at five.
Starting on No. 10, Wingardh sandwiched birdies at the 12th and 15th holes — for the week, Wingardh was 4 under on the par-5 15th — around a bogey at 14. He matched those 35 strokes with the same score over his second nine, birdieing the par-5 fourth and playing flawlessly the rest of the way.
David Holmes also played his first nine in one under par, with birdies at 11 and 12 before the tough 14th claimed one stroke back. But a birdie at No. 4 couldn’t offset bogeys at the second, third and fifth holes, and the junior settled for one over for the day and six over for the tournament, good for a 31st-place tie.
Darren Renwick double-bogeyed two holes Sunday, the 16th and the first, but still managed a two-over-par 74 that left him in a tie for 39th at nine over par. The freshman began with bogeys at 11 and 12, and then birdied 13 and 15 before the aforementioned doubles. He rallied, however, to play the final eight holes two under thanks to consecutive birdies at the third and fourth.
Cameron Lawrence also scored for the Vols with a 74, the best round of his debut SEC tournament. The sophomore carded matching 37s, bogeying twice on each side and birdieing once. Bogeys came at Nos. 10, 13, 1 and 9, while Lawrence gained strokes at 15 and 4 to finish in a tie for 56th at 17 over par.
Chris Paisley began this SEC Championship with bogeys Friday on his first four holes, and Sunday’s finish was nearly the same. The senior -- who battled food poisoning during the week along with teammate Renwick -- had rallied after bogeying twice in his first four holes, scoring birdies at 14, 17 and 18 for a front side 35. He remained 1 under par heading to the par-3 fifth before bogeying four of his final five holes to shoot a 3-over 75 and tie for 37th at eight over par.
Florida’s Billy Horschel claimed individual honors at 10 under par, edging Mississippi’s Carlos Sainz by two strokes.