KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - The Charleston Southern Buccaneers battled through the wind in the morning and a light rain in the afternoon in closing out the 2013 Wendy's Kiawah Classic at the Turtle Point Golf Course on Tuesday afternoon, finishing sixth place overall in the event.
Charleston Southern was led by a trio of 74s in the final round as David Denlinger, Jarrett Swan and Nicolas Baena all contributed to the Buccaneers' total on the day. CSU finished the three-day event at 891, 27-over. just outside of the top five.
"I'm proud of the team today," Wilson had to say about the effort of his guys on the course. "We talked last night about everyone giving everything they had and you can't say you had a bad day when no one shoots above a 76. Once again, we finished strong with is something we always push for and this is something we can build on as we move into the spring season."
Defending champion South Carolina repeated as the tournament champion. The Gamecocks finished their three rounds with a team score of 864 (E) to win the event. Marquette, led by tournament medalist Nick Nelson, finished second overall, 22 strokes behind the Gamecocks, while Winthrop, Missouri and Presbyterian round out the top five teams in the tournament standings.
Nelson took home top honors on the weekend after taking over the leaderboard yesterday afternoon with a tournament-low 67 (-5). Nelson shot 73, 1-over in holding off a surging Matthew NeSmith of South Carolina to take top honors after finishing his three rounds with a total of 210, 6-under for the weekend.
NeSmith took runner-up honors after turning in the low round on the final day, shooting 4-under, 68 in the windy, cold conditions at Turtle Point. NeSmith's three-round score reflected his final day as the Gamecocks' leader shot 212, 4-under for the tournament. Radford's Nick Brediger, Winthrop's Christian Sease and South Carolina's Will Starke rounded out the top five on the course.
"Once again, this year's tournament was a great success," CSU Director of Golf Mike Wilson had to say about the weekend. "I really want to thank Mike Giunta of Wendy's and his staff for all their support they give to Charleston Southern and to this event. Also, I want to thank all of our volunteers for all the time and effort they put in this weekend to make the tournament a success."
Charleston Southern was led in the tournament by Denlinger as the Buccaneers' senior finished up the final round with his 74 in recording a top 10 finish in the event. Denlinger closed out the fall season with a three-round total of 218, 2-over to pace CSU.
Swan also turned in a final round 74 to finish up the tournament. The Mt. Pleasant, S.C., native stayed mostly true to the course in recording a birdie on 17, while three bogeys in the first eight holes put him at 2-over for the day. For the tournament, Swan finished in a tie for 21st overall at 7-over, 223.
Teammate Ross Thomson turned in a final round 76, 4-over on the afternoon to finish in a tie for 26th overall in the tournament. Thomson's round included a birdie on 16 as the CSU senior finished with a tournament score of 224, 8-over on the weekend.
Nicolas Baena bounced back from a rough stretch on Monday afternoon, dropping eight strokes off of his score in finishing with a 74 in the final round. Baena finished tied for 48th overall and had three birdies on the final day to close out the round.
David Eller also rallied back from a difficult Monday in turning in a 75, 3-over par on the afternoon. Eller's birdie on hole 13 put him in a tie for 78th overall in the tournament.
Daniel Gregory and Will Pieper took on the course as individuals and closed out the tournament with their best rounds of the weekend. Gregory posted a 75, 3-over on Tuesday to finish tied for 62nd overall, while Pieper moved up 10 places in the rankings to finish tied for 69th following his final round score of 76.
Charleston Southern closed out the 2013 fall schedule at the Wendy's Kiawah Classic. The Buccaneers will be back on the links in the spring as CSU opens at the Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate on February 17-18, hosted at the Wexford Plantation on Hilton Head Island, S.C.