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Darton golf finishes third in own invitational

Darton golf coach Bill Jones III, left, helps Taylor Martin read a putt Tuesday at River Pointe Golf Club.

Darton golf coach Bill Jones III, left, helps Taylor Martin read a putt Tuesday at River Pointe Golf Club.

ALBANY — Taylor Martin was slumped to the ground, sitting next to the practice green while his teammates were preparing for Tuesday’s final round of the Darton Fall Invitational.

That’s about the time Darton golf coach Bill Jones III caught a glimpse of his No. 1 golfer.

“I saw him sitting there, and I said, ‘Buddy, what’s going on? Are you ready for today? Are you feeling good?’ ” Jones said. “He just said, ‘No.’ ”

Martin, who woke up nauseous and weak Tuesday, eventually rose to his feet and reluctantly began his round at River Pointe Golf Club.

Four hours later, the freshman was wrapping up one of the best rounds this season for a Darton golfer.

“He is just a special player,” Jones said.

Martin fired a 2-under 70 to lead the Cavs to a third-place finish in the 10-team tournament. It was the best finish for Darton this season and the best collegiate finish for Martin, who came in second as an individual with a 54-hole score of 214 (2-under).

“I was feeling terrible. I just woke up and didn’t feel good,” said Martin, a native of Braselton. “That’s the first time I had ever been sick and tried to play.”

Martin parred his first nine holes and got as low as 3-under on the back nine before bogeying No. 17.

He finished two shots behind individual medalist Alex Mahlik of Central Alabama.

“Maybe I just need to get sick more often,” he joked after the round.

Central Alabama, which is ranked No. 3 in the country, won the tournament with a three-round total of 861, while No. 4 Brevard shot an 880 and Darton’s “A” team, which is ranked sixth in the nation, shot an 889.

Darton’s other “A” team scores Tuesday were Nick Green (72), Parks Brown (78), Von Stripling (82) and TaeHyung Kim (85).

Kim entered the final round at 4-under and tied for the lead with Mahlik, but the South Korean native fell out of contention early with double bogeys on Nos. 1 and 4 and finished in 15th place. The double bogey on the fourth hole was aided by a two-shot penalty when he touched his line of putt.

“Tae Kim struggled early and had that penalty go against him, which hurt his pysche for the rest of the round,” Jones said. “He is still one of our premiere players. He hadn’t been in that position yet. It was the first time he had been in that position in college in a big tournament. He is going to learn from it and get better.”

Darton’s “B” team finished in fifth place and was led by Madison Turner, who shot a 3-over 75 Tuesday and finished as the sixth-lowest individual at 2-over.

Tyler Vaughn (T-15th) and Neil Graham (T-20th) each shot 75, and Robert Robertson (T-27th) shot an 80 to round out the Cavs’ “B” team scores.

“The good thing is that I saw good play across both of our teams,” Jones said. “It’s still early in the season. We have a lot of freshmen and a lot of changing in our lineup.

“When four guys that are technically our ‘B’ team almost catch your ‘A’ team, that means you have good players all the way across the board. We just need to find the right mix each week from who is playing the best that week.”

The Cavs play again Oct. 22-23 in the District IV Preview in Pendleton, S.C.