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Charlottesville, VA - The 22nd-ranked Virginia men's golf team won its third tournament of the season and successfully defended its Cavalier Classic title at Birdwood Golf Course Saturday. The Cavaliers shot 2-under 574 to better runner up Coastal Carolina by seven shots. Virginia posted rounds of 7-over 295 and 9-under 279. The Cavaliers and Chanticleers shared the lead after the day's opening round of play. Maryland was third at 587.
Virginia freshman Ben Rusch (Weinfelden, Switzerland), who played for the Virginia B team, won medalist honors by shooting 9-under 135. Rusch had rounds of 2-under 70 and 7-under 65. His second round score and 36-hole total were Cavalier Classic records for Birdwood Golf Course.
"It was a helluva round. It was really nice," Rusch said. "I've played really bad for the last eight weeks or so and coming back like this is really nice. I just hit the ball as well as I ever have. I never missed a shot all day. I just switched putters again, this morning. It really worked out and paid off."
Virginia's victory marked the eighth time in the 24-year history of the tournament the Cavaliers claimed the team title. UVa finished first last year and also won back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008. The Cavaliers also took top team honors in 1997, 1995, 1990 and 1988.
"It is always nice to win and this was our first victory of the spring," said Virginia coach Bowen Sargent. "That was one of the goals of our team - to win a tournament in the fall and the spring. I hope from here we have a bigger win in front of us.
"The guys feel good about what they accomplished especially after the position we put ourselves in after the first round. To bounce back and play well when you have to is nice and great for your confidence."
Will Collins led Virginia by tying for second with Coastal Carolina's Tripp McAllister at 4-under 140. Collins shot 71 in the morning and posted a 3-under 69 during the afternoon round. Bruce Woodall was sixth overall at 1-under 143, including a second round score of 6-under 66, the lowest round of his UVa career. Woodall carded a hole-in-one for the second consecutive tournament after recording the first of his golf career last weekend at the ACC Championships. He used an eight iron on the 170-yard, par three 14th hole."
"It landed, bounced twice and disappeared into the hole," Woodall said. "To do this twice is one week, it was outlandish. I don't know what to do with myself."
Ben Kohles was eighth at 1-over 145. He led the tournament following the first round when he shot 69. He carded a 76 over the final 18 holes. It was the 17th top-10 finish in his career.
Henry Smart was 13th at 148. He opened with a 78 but rebounded to shoot 70 during the afternoon. Mac McLaughlin rounded out the A team's scoring by finishing 28th at 155. He had rounds of 81 and 74.
Rusch's score helped the Virginia B team to a fourth-place finish in the nine-team field. Cole Willcox was 10th overall at 147. It was the first top-10 showing in his UVa career. Amory Davis was 39th at 158 and Cory Siegfried was 45th at 160.
The Cavaliers will now await a bid to a NCAA Regional Championship that will take place May 19-21. Virginia is looking to make its 15th NCAA Regional appearance since 1990. The Cavaliers have advanced to the NCAA Championships 13 times, including the past three seasons.
Cavalier Classic Team Results
Birdwood Golf Course
Par-72, 6,875 yards
Final Round Results
1. Virginia 295-279-574
2. Coastal Carolina 295-286-581
3. Maryland 301-286-587
4. Virginia B 299-301-600
5. Seton Hall 305-298-603
6. James Madison 313-293-606
7. Longwood 308-302-610
8. Delaware 302-316-618
9. George Mason 318-328-646
1. Ben Rusch, Virginia B 70-65-135
2. Tripp McAlister, Coastal Carolina 70-70-140
2. Will Collins, Virginia 71-69-140
4. Will Wiseman, Maryland 76-66-142
4. Bobby Fox, Longwood 72-70-142
6. Bruce Woodall, Virginia 77-66-143
7. Roberto Ballesteros, Coastal Carolina 76-68-144
8. Ben Kohles, Virginia 69-76-145
9. Justin Martinson, Delaware 72-74-146
10. Ryan Vance, James Madison 78-69-147
10. Cole Willcox, Virginia B 73-74-147
10. Charlie Winegardner, Coastal Carolina 74-73-147
2. Will Collins 71-69-140
6. Bruce Woodall 77-66-143
8. Ben Kohles 69-76-145
13. Henry Smart 78-70-148
28. Mac McLaughlin 81-74-155
Virginia B-Team Results
1. Ben Rusch 70-65-135
10. Cole Willcox 73-74-147
39. Amory Davis 79-79-148
45. Cory Siegfried 77-83-160