Trey Capps shot a two-under 70, and Ted Sluser posted an even-par 72, as the Sandhills Community College men's golf team rallied to take an 11-stroke lead into into Friday's final round of the NJCAA Division III National Championship.
The Flyers went into Thursday's third round at Chautauqua Golf Club in Chautauqua NY in third place two strokes behind Minnesota State and one behind Georgia Military College. But a 75 by Nick Agapion, and a 76 by Grant Gilbert, also contributed to a team score of 293 that was the second best in the team's 10-year national tournament history.
Capps shot 35-35-70 to maintain his hold on first place for medalist honors by two strokes over Dusty Watts of Georgia Military.
As on Thursday, the Flyers will be in threesomes for the final round with players from their closest competitors, Georgia Military and Minnesota State.
"We shot a really sound team round which is what we needed," Sandhills Coach Gus Ulrich said. "We don't need to do anything crazy tomorrow. We don't need to go low, we just have to play steady golf.
"The weather is supposed to be very nice. I predict another good day."
A large factor in the juggling of the standings in the Flyers' favor was the turnaround by Sluser who shot 81 and 89 in the first two rounds.
"Ted really pulled through for us today," his coach said.
Agapion and Gilbert also posted their best rounds of the tournament. The Flyers' Nevin Bullough shot an 82. Flyer golfers lead in a number of statistical categories. Gilbert is tied for first in birdies (9), Agapion is tied for the most pars (33) and Capps has the most eagles (2).
The Flyers will be seeking the college's second national title in men's golf. The lowest 18-hole team score was 290 in the final round by the 2014 National Championship team also in Chautauqua. The Flyers' Nick Thompson was the medalist that year after rounds of 73-73-69-70-285.
Team Results – Top 5: 1. Sandhills CC 314-316-293-923, 2. Georgia Military 315-314-305-934, 3. Minnesota State 317-311-309-937, 4. Columbus State 324-328-308-960, T-5 Niagara County 327-332-330-989, T-5 CC of Morris 333-328-328-989; Individual Results – Top 5 – 1. Capps (SCC) 77-73-70-220, 2. Watts (GMC) 76-76-70-222, 3. Blake Bloedorn (Minn. St.) 75-78-74-227, 4. Sean McGarvey (Rockland) 75-77-77-229, 5. Hunter Moen (Minn. St.) 75-76-79-230; Other Flyer Results: Agapion T-8 77-80-75-232, Gilbert T-17 83-78-76-237, Sluser T-27 81-89-72-242, Bullough T-42 79-85-82-246.