Acworth, Ga. – Lucas Coffelt shined for the Bryan Lions Men's Golf Team the opening day of the AAC/NAIA Men's Championship/Direct Qualifier that took place Monday and Tuesday, Apr. 24 & 25, at the Governor's Towne Club in Acworth, Ga. Coffelt was called upon at the last second because of an unfortunate event that landed on the Lions just before the tournament got underway. Coffelt not only came through for the Bryan and helped provide support for the team in the key event, but he stepped on the first tee, without having played the practice round, and shot the low 18-hole score at 73. His performance led the Lions to a season low score of 299, which placed them 5th as play was suspended because of darkness.
Coffelt guided the Lions to their first sub 300 score of the season, edging even fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference leader Point University (Ga.) by one stroke. The Lions were able to complete their 36 holes on the first day, but four teams had three holes to finish. While Coffelt registered the low 18-hole score for the Lions, freshman, Brandon Noland was the top 36-hole scorer producing a 75 and 74 for a 149 to place him six strokes behind the overall tournament leader, Joe Hurn (143) of St. Andrews University (N.C.). Noland's 74 in the second round was one stroke ahead of senior, Tom Durbin (75) and three strokes ahead of freshman, Kevin Knudsen. Durbin almost completed a rare albatross (double eagle) on the par 5 16th hole and capitalized for his second eagle of the day.
The Lions (612) entered the final round of the Championship in 5thplace behind conference leader Point (589), St. Andrews (590) who fired a tournament record 282 in the 2nd round, last year's AAC champion Reinhardt University (Ga.) (592), and Truett McConnell University (Ga.) (593).
Bryan pieced together a notable 307 during the last day of competition, but Tennessee Wesleyan University managed a 300, Milligan College (Tenn.) tied for the low 295 on the round, and SCAD-Atlanta worked their way to a 299 that proved good enough to pass up the Lions. Bryan ended the qualifier 8-of-11 and was led by Noland's consistent play. He closed out with a 76 for a 225 total, which tied him for 13th. Durbin trailed and matched Noland's 76 for a 228 after the trey of rounds to finish tied for 21st. Coffelt had an impressive finish and leveled Durbin at 228 for 21st place.
The Point University men's golf team totaled 884 strokes (20 over par) for 54 holes and placed first at the Qualifier. Point scored 289 strokes in round one, 300 in round two, and 295 in round three. The top five teams in the Direct Qualifier were separated by just seven strokes.
As team champion, Point automatically qualifies for the 68th Annual NAIA National Men's Golf Championships, May 16-19, which will hosted by St. Ambrose University at TPC Deere Run in Moline, Illinois. Point, which ranks number 16 in the Bushnell Golfweek NAIA Coaches' Poll for April 21, won its first AAC Tournament championship and qualified for its first NAIA National Championship appearance.
St. Andrews finished second with 885, one stroke behind Point. St. Andrews and Point both totaled 295 strokes in round three, allowing Point to maintain its slim margin at the end. Reinhardt finished third with 886, two behind the leader, and Truett-McConnell University (Ga.) scored 890. Tennessee Wesleyan University scored 891.
Head Bryan Golf Coach, Peter Bollant commented, "I was very proud of Lucas for stepping in at a critical moment and producing in a big way. I'm also glad that our guy's hard work is being recognized with them leading all conference schools on the All-Academic list. Having five players earn the honors shows the hard work they put in both on the course and in the classroom."
Five members from the Lions team earned All-Academic honors: Chandler Crow, Kaden Davis, Tom Durbin, Paul Houk, and Nick Scully. To make the Academic All-Conference Team, a student-athlete must be a sophomore, junior, or senior and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher.
For a complete list of the AAC awards, click here.