Solid performances throughout the lineup led to a season-low round as the Kennesaw State men’s golf team posted the second-lowest score of the day en route to a fifth-place finish at the 16-team Tiger Invitational that concluded Tuesday at the par-72, 7,289-yard Grand National Lake Course in Opelika, Alabama.
Leading the charge was senior Wyatt Larkin, who carded a 3-under par 69 to finish the 54-hole event at 4-under par 212 and tie for individual medalist honors with Auburn’s Brandon Mancheno. Mancheno, who is No. 45 in the latest Golfstat rankings, defeated Larkin in a one-hole playoff.
Larkin, along with junior Connor Coffee, who carded a 4-under par 68, helped the Owls to a season-low 7-under par 281, final total of 14-over par 878 and fifth-place finish. Kennesaw State began the day in ninth place.
Tenth-ranked and host Auburn turned in an 8-under par 280 to conclude the tournament at 11-under par 853 and record a 10-shot victory over No. 6 SMU (863; -1).
“I am extremely proud of the team effort and resilience the guys showed following the opening nine holes of the tournament,” head coach Bryant Odom said. “These guys overcame a rough start and found a way to end the event with one of the lowest team rounds of the day and finish in the top five.
“This should give us some confidence heading into the rest of the spring season,” Odom added.
After an even-par opening nine 36, Larkin played the back nine at 3-under par, recording an eagle on the par-15 12th and birdie on the par-3 15th hole.
“A huge congratulations to Wyatt Larkin for earning co-medalist honors this week,” Odom said. “Wyatt is such a diligent and focused worker day-in and day-out, and we are excited to share this memory with him. He is hungry for an outright win this spring.”
Larkin finished his round as the clubhouse leader and held a one-shot advantage until Mancheno birdied the 17th hole to force a playoff.
Coffee, who tied for 23rd at 3-over par 219, turned in his best round of the season, shooting 4-under par on his outward nine before playing the backside at even par. The Owls’ junior recorded five birdies and an eagle to close out the tournament.
Senior Pablo Rodriguez-Tabernero Torres shot a final-round 72 to conclude play at 5-over 221 and tie for 29th. Freshman Grant Sutliff (228; +12) and sophomore Brady Keran (232; +16) tied for 55th and placed 71st, respectively.
Freshman Ryan Hines, who was playing as an individual, placed 84th.
Kennesaw State is next in action March 15 when it co-hosts with Mercer University the Linger Longer Invitational at The Landing Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga.