St. Simons Island, Ga. – The College of Coastal Georgia men's golf team won its 25th tournament in program history Tuesday when it captured the team championship at the Coastal Georgia Winter Invitational.
Playing at Sea Island's Retreat Course, the Mariners shot 601 over the two-day tournament with scores of 306 and 295 which enabled them to record a one-stroke victory over the University of North Georgia which finished at 602 with scores of 308 and 294.
The win was the second this season for No. 20 Coastal Georgia which was opening its spring schedule this week with the home tournament. The Mariners also won the Coastal Georgia Fall Invitational back in September. Coastal Georgia has now won its winter tournament four consecutive years.
"It was just good enough," said Coastal Georgia coach Mike Cook when summing up his team's round on Tuesday. "We're happy for the win."
The Mariners actually got two wins out of the deal. Coastal Georgia senior Taylor Guilbeau walked off with the individual championship, shooting a 145 total over the two days with rounds of 72 and 73. Guilbeau started the final round a stroke back of co-leaders Joe Bannan and Peter Pang who both shot 71 in the first round on Monday. Both players shot 79 on Tuesday and finished tied for eighth.
The victory was the first for Guilbeau in his collegiate career. He finished fifth in the winter invitational last year at Retreat with a 146 total that included rounds of 72 and 74.
Guilbeau did not qualify for Coastal Georgia's A team and was playing in the tournament as a member of the school's B team. With the win, though, he will now automatically play in the remaining upcoming tournaments this spring, per team rule.
"That makes it easier. Now, I can just hopefully have fun and play," he said.
Guilbeau said improved putting was the key to his victory. He credited teammate Seth Sanders for helping him on the greens in practices leading up to the tournament.
"He worked with me. Seth is a really good putter, and he's helped me a lot," Guilbeau noted. "That's really all it was. I usually hit a lot of fairways and greens, but putting made the difference."
Tuesday's scores were considerably lower than Monday's as the first round was played under strong winds. Three teams broke 300 in the second round and third-place Reinhardt posted a 301. The lowest team score on Monday was the 304 recorded by the Coastal Georgia B team.
"We definitely played a lot better today," Cook said. "We got off to a great start. A couple of guys were under par with about six holes to go and a few were hanging in there just over par.
"We kicked ourselves in the foot coming in. We probably played the last six holes in six or seven over par. Today, we easily could have shot 290 or better. So, even though we won, we have to play better moving forward."
Also for the Coastal Georgia A team, Paxton Shuman shot 77-70-147 to tie for second overall. He was second in the home tournament last spring and third in the fall home event.
Sanders tied for fourth at 149 with scores of 76-73 to also make the all-tournament team as a top-5 finisher.
For the Mariners' B team, Michael Spinger tied for 12th at 151 (75-76), Ajay Patel tied for 40th at 159 (76-83) and Cooper Dalrymple tied for 63rd at 166 (84-82). The B squad finished seventh at 618 as it shot 314 on Tuesday.
Reinhardt was third in the team standings with a 609 score, Faulkner was fourth at 614 and St. Andrews was fifth at 615.
Coastal Georgia is off until March 6 when it plays in the Sand Shark tournament hosted by University of South Carolina-Beaufort.