ORLANDO, Fla. – At long last, the wait is over for University of Richmond men's golf head coach Adam Decker and his program. After three-straight second place finishes at the Atlantic 10 Golf Championships, the Spiders broke through, in dominant fashion, to claim the program's first title since joining the A-10.
It was a long journey for the Spiders but it could not have ended in a more stylish way. The Spiders descended upon the Grand Cypress Golf Club – New Course and brought it to its knees over the course of the three-day, 54-hole event. The team finished –24, 840 overall, outpacing the second place VCU Rams by 13 strokes while placing four players inside the top five
Richmond fired a season-best -15, 273 on Friday then survived windy conditions on Saturday to shoot Even Par (288) while everyone else struggled. Then Sunday came and no team was going to catch the Spiders. An eight-stroke lead to start the day quickly grew to 13 before teams started making the turn, and from then on it was a coronation.
A pair of freshmen, Andrew Sciarretta and Zack Justice, both of whom were chasing the individual title all weekend, anchored the incredible effort. Justice, an Orlando native, set the tone with a -6, 66 on Friday, taking the early lead, then played one-under par the rest of the tournament to finish in a tie for second (-7, 66, 72, 71) with his roommate. Sciarretta was steady over the first two rounds then exploded during the final trip around, posting a career-best 67 to finish –7 and tied with Justice for second overall. The pair was named Co-Most Outstanding Rookie Performers.
The always reliable Keegan Hoff capped off another stellar weekend by finishing in a tie for fifth, bolstered by a trio of rounds that may not have had all eyes on him but made onlookers realize that he had been sitting in the top five all along. He cruised to a -4, 68 on day one then followed that up with a +1, 73 on Saturday before helping shut down this championship with a –2, 70 on Sunday.
Matthew Lowe had his ups and downs but always found his way back to his number. After a pair of 70's to get this tournament started he closed on Sunday with a 71 to get to -5 and tie Hoff for fifth overall.
Decker earned his second-consecutive Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year award. Keegan Hoff earned A-10 Golfer of the Year recognition for his regular season accomplishments and Zack Justice was chosen as the first-ever A-10 Rookie of the Year. Hoff and Matthew Lowe were both chosen to the All-Conference Team.
The Spiders will now sit and wait to hear their named called during the NCAA Selection show, which will air on the Golf Channel at Noon on Thursday (May 4). As the Atlantic 10 Champions, the Spiders will receive the League's automatic berth to the NCAA Men's Golf Regionals. The NCAA Regionals will be held May 15-17 at sites in Murfreesboro, Tenn., West Lafayette, Ind., Stanford, Cal., Austin, Texas, Baton Rouge, Lou. and Auburn, Wash.