Statesboro, GA -
Virginia senior men's golfer Ben Kohles finished first at the Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga., to help the 26th-ranked Cavaliers to a second-place showing in the 14-team event. The victory was Kohles' second this spring and the seventh of his career.
Kohles shot 5-under 67 Sunday for a 54-hole total of 18-under 198. His previous best tournament score was 206, which he recorded twice during his sophomore season. Auburn's Blayne Barber was the runner-up at 201.
"I hit it so good this week, it was unreal," Kohles said. "I hit 51 of 54 greens in regulation and was able to go up-and-down on two of the three I missed. My only bogey was on a hole I wasn't able to go up-and-down.
"Everything was working. It was a blast out there. I was actually trying to get to 20 under when I had six holes left to play. I just didn't make some birdie putts down the stretch."
Virginia shot 7-under 281 during Sunday's play for a total of 25-under 839. Alabama claimed the team title at 47-under 817. Second-ranked Auburn tied No. 24 Florida for third place at 847.
Kohles recorded a single bogey during his three days of play at the Forest Heights Country Club course. He had rounds of 65 and 66 during the opening two days. Both his overall score and his score in relation to par set Cavalier scoring records.
He bettered current PGA Tour professional Steve Marino's 200 (10-under) he posted in 2001 at the Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn. Marino was one of four former UVa players who shared the record for best score in relation to par at 11-under. Amory Davis, Jeremy Luce and Jimmy Flippen (twice) also finished tournaments at 11-under.
"I did surprise myself a little bit," said Kohles who did not play golf during the winter break to rest a sore back. "After taking all of that time off in the winter, I think I only played four or five rounds this year before our first tournament. Still, I was shooting around 71 or 72 in those practice rounds. Those first two tournaments, they were on much tougher courses and we were playing in much tougher conditions. To win one and finish second in another, I knew I was playing pretty well."
Kohles' finish was the 22nd top-10 performance of his career. He trails Simon Cooke and James Driscoll, the school's all-time leaders, by one on that record list.
UVa's Ben Rusch joined Kohles near the top of the leaderboard with a seventh-place finish. He shot 4-under 68 to finish at 9-under 207 to better his previous best tournament score by three strokes.
Freshman Ji Soo Park shot 71 Sunday and finished 37th at 219. Classmate Denny McCarthy was 48th at 221 and Bruce Woodall was 61st at 223. Mac McLaughlin, playing as a non-scoring individual, was 42nd at 220.
In their next outing, the Cavaliers play at the Hootie @ Bulls Bay Intercollegiate in Charleston, S.C. March 25-27.
Forest Heights Country Club
Par-72, 6,962 yards
1. Alabama 268-269-280-817
2. Virginia 283-275-281-839
3. Auburn 282-277-288-847
3. Florida 280-285-282-847
5. UAB 286-279-290-855
6. Mississippi 280-286-292-858
7. North Florida 286-285-291-862
8. South Carolina 293-277-294-864
9. Kentucky 286-286-298-870
10. Vanderbilt 304-287-282-875
11. Georgia Southern 296-292-290-878
12. Notre Dame 289-293-300-882
14. Minnesota 300-284-300-884
13. NC State 301-286-298-885
1. Ben Kohles, Virginia 65-66-67-198
2. Blayne Barber, Auburn 66-67-68-201
3. Justin Thomas, Alabama 66-68-70-204
3. Cory Whitsett, Alabama 67-65-72-204
5. Hunter Hamrick, Alabama 69-67-70-206
5. Bobby Wyatt, Alabama 66-69-71-206
7. Blake Morris, Mississippi 68-69-70-207
7. Ben Rusch, Virginia 68-71-68-207
1. Ben Kohles 65-66-67-198
7. Ben Rusch 68-71-68-207
37. Ji Soo Park 74-74-71-219
48. Denny McCarthy 76-68-77-221
61. Bruce Woodall 78-70-75-223
42. Mac McLaughlin* 72-76-72-220
* Playing as a non-scoring individual