BERLIN, Md. – There were two first and something that happened for the second time for the North Carolina A&T men’s golf program.
The Aggies won the school’s first-ever men’s golf tournament on Wednesday by claiming Maryland Eastern Shore’s UMES Collegiate Golf Challenge tournament played at the par-72, 6,624-yard Ocean City Golf & Yacht Club Seaside golf course.
Cody Lissner claimed the individual title by shooting a career-best 4-under 212 for the tournament to finish five strokes ahead of sophomore teammate Diego Gonzalez who shot a 3-over 222 to finish tied for second with Hampton’s Everett Whiten, Jr.
Sophomore Xavier Williams finished 14 shots off the lead with a 10-over 226 as he tied for fourth place. The other scorecard that counted on Wednesday came from Casey Lindo. Lindo finished with a 19-over 235 to place 10th. Right behind him was sophomore Diego Sanchez who finished 11th with a 21-over 237.
As a team, the Aggies shot a 30-over 894 to finish 27 strokes ahead of Hampton (921). UMES finished third (923), 29 strokes off the lead.
“They checked a couple of boxes,” said N.C. A&T coach Richard Watkins. “Obviously, we wanted to win the event. But we also wanted to shoot our lowest team score for a single round, which always our target, and we wanted to reach our lowest tournament total ever. Two out of three works for today.”
On Tuesday, the Aggies did shoot a first-round 6-over 294 to jump out to the fast start. They were 9-over in the second round and 15-over on Wednesday.
Lissner led the way again on Wednesday becoming the first player in program history to play a bogey-free round. He is the second player in school history to win an individual crown after Gonzalez won the UMES Challenge last season.
Gonzalez’s 6-under still stands as the lowest score in school history. Lissner carded two birdies on Wednesday and eight birdies for the tournament. He also scored on an eagle putt on Tuesday.
He cupped the par-5, 495-yard third hole in four strokes to move to 1-under on the day. He parred the next 13 holes before birdieing the par-4, 431-yard 17th to move to 2-under on the day. He parred 18 to make his tournament win official.
Lissner shot an even-round 72 in the first round on Tuesday before shooting 2-under in the second round. There no double bogeys on any of the three scorecards he submitted, and he only had six bogeys for the entire 54-hole tournament.
Gonzalez also had a solid day. He was 4-over after the first nine holes but was much better after making the turn to the back nine. He went to 5-over on the day after bogeying No. 11, but recovered and eagled the par-5, 478-yard 13th to move to 3-over. It was his second-career eagle. Gonzalez did bogey the 15th but ended his day by birdieing the par-4, 386-yard 18th to finish at 3-over.
A triple bogey on No. 7 set Williams back on Wednesday. He did end the tournament on a positive note as he also birdied 18 to finish 7-over for the day.
“I like the progress of the individual team members are making. Everyone has areas of concern that need to be addressed, and they are making those efforts to improve. It is showing not only in the scores but how they score. We have a lot of work to do, but we are willing to do the work.
I am more concerned with the numbers than the results of those numbers. We will endeavor to beat the same score goals in the next two events.”
The Aggies will travel down the street a bit in Maryland to compete in the Towson Invitational, Oct. 19-20. Their final tournament of the fall semester will be the Savannah State Invitational, Oct. 28-29 in Savannah, Ga.