• Daniel Hooker

WCU Men’s Golf Posts Runner-Up Finish at JT Poston Invitational

Western Carolina men’s golf matched the lowest team round of the event with a final-round 6-under par 278 on Tuesday to charge four positions in the final standings to finish as the tournament runner-up as play concluded in the 2022 JT Poston Invitational at the beautiful Country Club of Sapphire Valley.

WCU’s round of 278 at the par-71, 7,007-yard course was tied for the seventh-best in program history and matched the 278 carded by Georgia State in Monday’s second round. Three members of WCU’s scoring five posted third-round scores in the 60s as the Catamounts pushed to second place, its best finish at its home event since it won the tournament back in 2016.

Making its first appearance in the tournament, Coastal Carolina outlasted the field to win the team championship by two strokes over WCU, 851-to-853. Chattanooga finished third, five strokes off the pace at 856 with Elon (857) and UNCW (861) rounding out the top five. UNCW’s Walker Isley rallied over the final seven holes, carding four birdies to storm to the top of the leaderboard and claimed individual medalist honors over second-place Seth Taylor of Coastal Carolina.

A trio of Catamount newcomers paced the squad with graduate transfer Adam Hooker finishing amongst a five-way tie for third with a three-round score of 1-under par 212. The Lebanon, Va., product finished his final round with a 1-over par 72. Two-over par at the turn with four bogeys against a pair of birdies, Hooker carded an eagle on the par-5 14th to move to even par before a fifth bogey of the day relegated him to 72. Hooker finished the event second in the field with 38 pars.

Sophomore transfer Ryan Thomas posted a Top 10 finish in his first competitive appearance at the CCSV, matching Hooker with a 1-over par 72 on Tuesday for a three-round score of 1-over par 214. Countering a pair of bogeys through the first four holes with a birdie on the par-5 sixth, Thomas finished his day with 12-consecutive pars.

Redshirt junior transfer Pablo Hernandez (68), fifth-year senior Louis Theys (69), and senior Magnus Pedersen all carded final rounds in the 60s to spur the Catamount rally. Hernandez matched the tournament’s low round with a 3-under par round, countering three bogeys with six birdies – four on the front nine and two down the stretch. The Madrid, Spain, native leaped 21 spots in the standings to finish tied for 14th. Theys made the turn for home at 1-over par before closing his round with birdies on three of the final nine holes to advance 16 positions to finish tied for 19th.

Pedersen was the squad’s biggest mover by climbing 28 spots into a tie for 43rd with a season-best score of 3-under par 68. The Moss, Norway, product carded four birdies against a pair of bogeys over the final 18 holes.

Playing unattached as individuals, WCU saw sophomore transfer Josh Lendach advance six positions into a tie for 56th overall with a score of 224 including his best round of 2-over par 73 on Tuesday. Sophomore Kiefer Bulau finished tied for 79th overall with a score of 230 with senior Quinton Metz finishing tied for 91st with a final score of 237. Metz finished with three birdies in the tournament.

WCU collectively led the field in par-4 scoring at 4.05 (+8) and recorded a tournament-best 169 pars over the 54 holes. The Catamounts were also tied for third with 47 total birdies.

Western Carolina returns to action Oct. 9-11 at the Carolina Collegiate Invitational co-hosted by USC Upstate and Wofford­ at the Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg, S.C. The 54-hole tournament will be spread over three days of competition.

Keep track of everything related to Catamount men's golf and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Instagram (@wcu_catamounts), and Twitter (@catamounts, @CatamountMGolf).

2 – Western Carolina – 284 – 291 – 278 = 853 (+1)

T3 – Adam Hooker – 71-69-72 = 212 (-1)

T9 – Ryan Thomas – 72-70-72 = 214 (+1)

T14 – Pablo Hernandez – 71-76-68 = 215 (+2)

T19 – Louis Theys – 71-76-69 = 216 (+3)

T43 – Magnus Pedersen – 71-81-69 = 221 (+8)

T56 – Josh Lendach (ind.) – 76-75-73 = 224 (+11)

T79 – Kiefer Bulau (ind.) – 78-73-79 = 230 (+17)

T91 – Quinton Metz (ind.) – 84-76-77 = 237 (+24)

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