Local Sports

Webber finishes season strong

Avon Park native Greg Gentry and Claes Isaksson led the Webber International University men’s golf team to a 13th place finish at the 63rd Annual NAIA National Men’s Golf Championship at Daytona Beach from May 13-16.

“Claes and Greg set some very high goals this year,” said Warriors golf coach Nancy Nichols. “As a coach you always enjoy seeing them reach the achievements they set for themselves. These two young men have always been supportive of their teammates while challenging themselves. Next year’s goal will be to achieve NAIA All American recognition.”

After the first round of play Webber held the 14th spot. But after battling high winds and difficult pin placements, the Warriors slipped into 18th. Gaining momentum after thethird round, Webber hoped to regroup in the final round. Unfortunately, a five-hour rain delay cut the championship down from 72 holes to 54.

With temperatures dipping into the 50s, and strong winds prevailing the final morning, players finished their third round and the tournament was considered complete. The Warrios had holes No. 15-18 to finish and were the first wave to complete their round. Teams that started play later in the day had steady winds at 20 to 25 mph with 30 to 35 mph gusts making shot placement difficult.

College of Coastal Georgia was crowned champion. The Mariners shot a three-day team total of 865, one over par, to edge Oklahoma City, which shot 869. North Miami’s Johnson & Wales rounded out the top three posting an 874.

James Marchesani of Oklahoma City was low medalist for the tournament, beating out Jay Monahan of Grand View University in a sudden death play-off. Both players finished the regulation rounds with an outstanding five under par total of 211. Jose Pablo Rolz of Texas Wesleyan came in third posting a strong four under par 212.

Leading the way for the Webber Warriors, Gentry posted a strong 73-76-70 (219) three over par for the tournament. Teammate Shane Godwin shot 74-74-74 (222), Stuart Winsby posted 76-75-75 (225), while Isaksson shot 76-81-74 (231) and Bryan Rutherford posted 76-78-77 (231).

With a very successful tournament, Gentry finished tied for 25th from a pool of 156 players, tied medalist winner James Marchesani in the No. 1 spot in par three scoring, had a third-place tie in par five scoring and with 11 birdies over the three rounds, tied for second in the number of birdies for the tournament.

Webber International University men’s golf team had two players honored by the 2014 Daktronics – NAIA Men’s Golf Scholar-Athletes. A total of 114 men’s golf student-athletes were honored by the NAIA. Winsby a junior from Lame, Northern Ireland and junior, Claes Isaksson from Umea, Sweden, both received those honors.

In order to be nominated by an institution’s head coach or sports information director, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status.

“I am very proud of Stuart and Claes for receiving this honor,” Nichols said. “These two young men were standouts on the course and in the classroom.”

Isaksson and Gentry were recognized for their play in the championship. Both players were honored by being named to the NAIA PING All-South Region Team. Gentry and Isaksson were selected to the 15-member squad after helping the Warriors to their 13th place finish at the NAIA Men’s Golf Championships.

“I am very proud that our Webber men’s program has been to the NAIA National Championship seven of the last 11 years,” Nichols said. “As seniors, I expect both Greg and Claes to be leaders next year. Greg has a chance to be the only golfer in Webber history to go to NAIA Nationals three times.”