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Darton opens fall golf season strong

Joe Sakapolphaisan shoots a two-day even par 144 to lead Darton to the title in the Darton invitaional.

Joe Sakapolphaisan shoots a two-day even par 144 to lead Darton to the title in the Darton invitaional.

ALBANY -- With a new head coach and five new freshmen vying for a place in the starting lineup, Darton picked up right where it left off in the spring -- by dominating opposing golf teams.

Led by sophomore Joe Sakulpolphaisan, who shot a two-day, even-par 144, the sixth-ranked Cavaliers won their own invitational Tuesday at River Pointe Golf Club with a team score of 600 in Bill Jones III's debut as head coach.

The Cavs shot 295 on Tuesday -- improving from the 305 scored Monday -- to finish the tourney 37 strokes ahead of second place Abraham-Baldwin Agricultural College.

Also finishing behind Darton were Region XVII rivals South Georgia College (640), Gordon College (645) and Andrew College (651).

Sakulpolphaisan shot 70 Tuesday to finish the tournament five strokes better than teammate Shad Tuten, who led Monday at 73 and finished second overall with a two-day total of 149.

Jones said that although Tuten played very well Tuesday, he struggled with No. 16 - a hole he double bogeyed twice.

"He doesn't make mistakes like that very often," Jones said. "He'll learn from that."

Sophomore Austin McNeal tied for third overall with teammate Neil Graham, who played as an individual and did not contribute to the team score. McNeal and Graham, both from Douglas, shot 153 for their two-day totals.

McNeal also shot three straight birdies on the back nine Tuesday, Jones said.

Freshman Robert Robertson struggled with winds and firm greens Monday and shot 89 but came back Tuesday to shoot a 75. Freshman Nick Green shot a 78 Tuesday to finish with a 157, completing the team score for Darton.

Freshmen Chase Jones shot a 157 and Jonathan Howard carded a 155. Both, along with Graham, played the tournament as individuals.

Jones uttered his disappointment in an interview Monday after his team shot a total of 305 stokes. His team looked much better on Tuesday, he said.

"I laid into them pretty good last night -- 305 on one of their home courses is unacceptable," he said.

He said the team figured out how to play a better game today.

"Getting out there and just relaxing and trusting their game -- that's the biggest key," Jones said. "Yesterday they just looked like they were fighting too hard."