Darton’s Madison Turner shot the Cavs’ best score in Monday’s opening 18 holes (2-over 74), and the sophomore is 6-over heading into today’s final round of the Doublegate Invitational. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — Darton golf coach Dale Dover wasn’t exactly sure where he and his players were going to eat dinner following Monday’s opening 36 holes of the Doublegate Invitational.
But he knew what he was going to do when they got there.
“I’m going to whip out the page with the scores on it, put in on the table and say, ‘You guys got a reprieve,’ ” Dover said. “I’m going to say, ‘Eastern Florida State threw up a little bit and gave you a chance. How you handle that is up to you.’ ”
Eastern Florida State led the two-day tournament by nine strokes after Monday’s morning round, but the Titans slipped up in the afternoon’s 18 holes and allowed the field to catch up. Heading into today’s final 18 holes, Eastern Florida State is still on top of the leaderboard, but Darton State and Georgia Southwestern are tied for second and just five shots back.
“We are in a good spot,” GSW coach Darcy Donaldson said. “We are coming from behind, so they have all the pressure on them. And just like Darton, we are familiar with this course. We play here twice a month so we have a good vibe on the course.”
Darton and GSW had two of the top afternoon team scores to put some pressure on Eastern Florida State in a field that is loaded with some of the top NJCAA teams in the country. The Cavs fired a 298, while GSW carded a 297 — a score that was only matched in the second round by defending national champ Central Alabama Community College.
Eastern Florida State (289-307) sits in first at 596, and behind Darton and GSW at 601 are CACC (605) and Brewton Parker (606).
It was a wet and windy Monday on Darton’s home course, and among those to struggle was Darton’s Taylor Martin, the Cavs’ No. 1 qualifier who shot a 4-under 68 in Friday’s practice round.
On Monday, the sophomore finished with scores of 78 and 83 — two rounds that Dover said cost the Cavs a possible lead heading into today’s finale.
“If we get 73 and 75 out of him (Monday) we have a pretty decent score,” Dover said. “If he gets just five shots better then we are tied for the lead. You should expect that out of a guy who qualified No. 1. You aren’t expecting to get a 78 and 83 out of him.”
None of Darton’s golfers had sub-par rounds on Monday, but TaeHyung Kim was close in the afternoon with a 1-over 73. Kim (76-73) and Seth Sanders (75-74) are both at 5-over to lead the Cavs, while Madison Turner (74-76) is 6-over and Hunter Elliot (79-75) is 10-over. Martin is 17-over at 161.
Georgia Southwestern was led by Anders Olsson (73-74), who at 3-over is still nine shots behind individual leader Dillon Board of Brewton Parker. Board fired rounds of 68 and 70 and is 6-under heading into today’s final 18.
Other scores for GSW were Fraser Johnston (75-73, 4-over), Nicholas Ward (76-72, 4-over), Jungsun Lee (80-80, 16-over) and Nick Ray (83-78, 17-over).
“Coming in to (Monday) we just wanted to put ourselves in a good spot and have a good chance to bring home a win,” Olsson said. “And it feels like we have done that. Five shots in college golf, you can make that up really quickly.”
Today’s final round is a shotgun start and begins at 8:30 a.m. at Doublegate Country Club.
Lady Cavs stretch winning streak to 7
The Darton softball team cruised to a pair of wins Monday against Thomas University’s JV team to stretch its winning streak to seven and stay undefeated at home.
The Lady Cavs (17-3), winners off 11 of their last 12 games, are now a perfect 8-0 at home after winning the opener, 8-0, and the second game, 7-0.
In the opener, the Lady Cavs scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game early with the eight-run mercy rule.
Darton’s fifth-inning rally was highlighted by a Bree Wells grand slam, which was the sophomore’s 10th home run of the season. Savannah Carlisle pitched all five innings and struck out four.
In the second game, Jostlyn Higgerson put the Lady Cavs on top early with a three-run homer in the first inning. Darton added four more runs in the fourth inning thanks in part to Shea Smith’s two-run single.
Lady Cavs closer Jamie Daniels got her first start of the season in Game No. 2 and pitched a gem, allowing just five hits and striking out nine in seven innings of work.
Darton kicks off a stretch of seven games in three days at the Jimmie Stewart Tournament in Niceville, Fla., with a pair of contests Thursday against Louisiana State University Eunice and Lake Michigan College.