SJU Men’s Golf Wins First BIG EAST Championship since 1989
For the first time in 25 years, St. John’s men’s golf team won the BIG EAST Championship, after an impressive performance at the Callawassie Island Club in Okatie, SC.
The championship, which took place April 27 – 29, delivered the Red Storm’s 10th conference title. With the victory, SJU won the league’s automatic berth to the 2014 NCAA Regional, to be announced by the Golf Channel at 10 a.m. on Selection Monday, May 5.
“It was a great battle out there with Marquette,” said head coach Frank Darby. “I am proud of my guys. Sometimes it’s difficult being the front runner and playing with the lead. We love this course and Callawassie has been a great host.”
In addition, senior Ryan McCormick finished the three-day tournament with an eight-stroke margin, taking home the first BIG EAST Individual Championship since Andrew Svoboda in 2001. “It’s the best feeling I’ve had as a collegiate golfer,” said McCormick. “I am so happy for Coach Darby: he deserves a BIG EAST Championship by now. For all of the players on his teams that didn’t win a title, this one is for them too.”
Heading into the final round with a three-stroke lead, McCormick birdied his first hole of the day on the par-four, 396-yard opening hole before adding five more birdies, ending the day with a 69 (-3). The senior captain was able to card 13 birdies and an eagle over the course of the tournament on his way to the title with a 211 (-5). McCormick’s title marks only the eighth individual champion to come out of St. John’s since the BIG EAST Championships began in 1979.
The team also owed its 10-stroke margin to the steady play of McCormick’s four teammates, allowing the Red Storm held the lead over all three days of the event. Junior Ben Ludlam picked up his first Top-10 finish of the season, concluding in ninth place overall with a 224 (+8) after carding a birdie on the final hole of the event. Junior Dylan Crowley stepped up the play over his last two rounds, carding a par or better on 32 of his final 36 holes to tie for 11th overall with a 226 (+10).
Earning the best finish of his rookie career, freshman Sean Byrne rounded out the Red Storm’s team total of 882 (+18) after tying for 18th in the field of 45 with a 230 (+14). Junior Obe Ayton began the final round with an eagle on his opening hole. Despite struggling through the middle of the course, he earned a birdie on 17 to finish the day with a 78 (+6), ending the event tied for 26th with a 234 (+18).
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