Patriot Golf Finishes NAIA Championships and Season with Top 5 Finish
The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Men’s Golf Program had their eyes set on the most prestigious prize in the NAIA this past week, the 2012 NAIA National Championship. The Patriots were in the hunt the entire week, but ended the tournament with an impressive 5th place finish, the highest placing for any Patriots team in the NAIA National Tournament.
On day one, the Patriots ended the day in 7th place of 29 teams shooting a 305. Leading the way for the Patriots was Matt Walton (Lancashire, UK) shooting a 74 (+2). Niclas Rigbrandt (Nykoping, Sweden) and Alastair Tidcombe (Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada) closely followed suit both shooting a 75 (+3) on the day. Fredrik Lindblom (Stockholm, Sweden) was next on the team shooting an 81 (+9) in the first round. Rounding out the team was Aaron Watkins (Harlan, KY) shooting an opening round 83 (+11).
Day two was the best of the week for the Patriots as they shot a 291 to combine for a total of 596, good enough to sit in 6th place overall. Tidcombe still led the way for the Patriots shooting a two under 70 in round two to sit at 145 (+1) at the end of the day. Rigbrandt followed shooting a 73 on day two to finish at 148 (+4). Lindblom trimmed 10 shots off his first round shooting a 71 on day two to finish at 152 (+8). Walton had a rough 2nd round shooting a 79 to bring him to 153 (+9). Rounding out the team was Watkins shooting a 77 in the 2nd round to finish at 160 (+16).
Day three was another overall consistent day of play as the Patriots shot a 297 to bring their total to 893, good enough to make the cut for the final round as they sat in 7th place. Tidcombe once again led the way as he shot an even par 72 to finish at 217 (+1). Rigbrandt followed again shooting a 73 on day three to end the day at 221 (+5). Lindblom, Walton, and Watkins all shot 76 in the third round to complete the day. Lindblom ended at 228 (+12) while Walton finished at 229 (+13). Watkins rounded out the team yet again at 236 (+20).
The fourth and final round was a day of moves as the Patriots finished their tournament with a 295 as a team and shot a tournament total of 1188; good enough for 5th place overall in the tournament. Tidcombe shot a final round 74 to finish his tournament at 291 (+3) and tied for 6th place overall. Rigbrandt and Walton both shot team best 73’s on the day as Rigbrandt finished at 294 (+6) and tied for 10th place while Walton finished at 302 (+14) and tied for 38th place. Lindblom shot a final round 75 to end his tournament at 303 (+15) and tied for 44th place. Watkins rounded out the team shooting a fourth round 76 to end the week at 312 (+24) and tied for 75th place.
Head Coach Chris Kraftick commented, “I can’t say enough about how proud I am of these guys. Getting a top 5 finish at the NAIA National Tournament is special and they worked very hard to achieve it. Alastair and Niclas were great all week. They played their best golf of the year this week on the biggest stage.”
*University of the Cumberlands