HERSHEY, Pa. – Hershey, Pennsylvania is known for the Hershey Chocolate Factory and if you look at a famous movie about chocolate, the Goucher College men's golf team earned their gold ticket after winning its second-straight Landmark Conference Men's Golf Championship on Saturday. Freshman Julian Gonzalez finished tied for the low score in the two rounds, but lost a one-hole playoff on the ninth hole after unable to hit his birdie attempt on the hole.
With the win, the Gophers are headed to the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships at the Keane Trace Golf Course in Nicholasville, Kentucky, on May 14-17.
"I was very impressed with the team's ability to handle the final round pressure," said head coach Hunter Brown. "Everyone was resilient and fought very hard for this win. We're very excited to be heading back to nationals."
Just like last season, Goucher went into the final round with a one stroke lead. The Gophers shot the low round with a 306 in the first round and then shot a low round of 302 in the final round to post a score of 608 and win its second-straight crown by 15 strokes.
Gonzalez shot a one-over par final round to end the two rounds in a tie with Lucas Artigliere after carding a 145. In the final round, Gonzalez bogeyed four and birdied nine to go onto the back nine at even par. He then posted pars on every hole on the final nine holes except for hole 16 to end with a one-over par round of 73. In the two rounds, Gonzalez had four birdies, 28 pars, three bogeys and a double bogey.
"Julian has led us all year," said Brown. "We would have loved to see him win the playoff, but glad he'll have a chance to go after a national championship."
Evan Yue (Beijing, China/IMG Academy) finished fifth after posting a 75 in the opening round and a 76 in the final round for a score of 151. The sophomore bettered his position by two spots from last year after carding pars on the first 14 holes of his afternoon before posting a double bogey, bogey, par, bogey on his final four holes for a four-over 76. He had two birdies, 25 pars, seven bogeys and a double bogey on the afternoon.
Nick Fisher (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) shot a 74 on the final day to move up 11 spots with a two-round score of 156 to place seventh. The sophomore started his day with a bogey and then a birdie and then posted pars on his next eight holes. He then posted a bogey, birdie, bogey, bogey and then a clean sheet to finish the round after four pars to notch a two-over par round of 74. Fisher collected two birdies, 23 pars, 10 bogeys and a triple bogey in the two days.
Steph Lee (Manalapan, N.J./Saint John Vianney) placed just outside of the Top-10 with a 78 in the first round and a 79 in the final round for a two-round score of 157. Lee, who was the top finisher at the Landmark Conference Championships last year with a third-place standing, had a bogey to start his round before three pars before he hit back-to-back birdies to get to one under par for the round through six holes. The sophomore then went bogey, double bogey and par on the final three holes of the first nine to go into the back nine three over par. He then posted pars on six of the first seven holes and then double bogeyed 17 and bogeyed 18 to finish with a round of 79. For the two days, he had , two birdies, 21 pars, 10 bogeys and three double bogeys.
Roberto Mikse (Fort Worth, Texas/Jim McClean Junior Academy) rounded out the team competitors with a 19th-place standing after carding an 81 and an 80 in the two rounds for a score of 161.The sophomore, who finished fifth last year, posted two birdies, 20 pars, 11 bogeys, two double bogeys and a triple bogey in the two rounds.
Goucher has won the Landmark Conference title in its first two years as a program.