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Darton, Georgia Southwestern can't catch Eastern Florida State in final round of Doublegate Invitational

Host Darton finishes tied for second

Darton State freshman and Macon native Seth Sanders shot a 6-over 78 in Tuesday’s final round of the Doublegate Invitational and finished tied for 10th as an individual. The Cavs finished tied for second behind Eastern Florida State. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

Darton State freshman and Macon native Seth Sanders shot a 6-over 78 in Tuesday’s final round of the Doublegate Invitational and finished tied for 10th as an individual. The Cavs finished tied for second behind Eastern Florida State. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

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Georgia Southwestern freshman Nicholas Ward tied for third as an individual at the Doublegate Invitational with a 3-over 75 in Tuesday’s final round. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

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Darton’s Hunter Elliot talks with assistant coach Gary Hilton during Tuesday’s final round. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

ALBANY — Eastern Florida State left the door cracked for Darton and Georgia Southwestern to make a move in Tuesday’s final round of the Doublegate Invitational.

But the comeback never came from the Cavs or the Hurricanes.

Holding a five-shot lead over both Darton and GSW heading into the final 18 holes, Eastern Florida State extended the margin and cruised to a seven-shot victory in the 12-team tournament.

“We couldn’t catch ‘em,” Darton coach Dale Dover said. “It was a tough day, and we had to play well. The whole group broke 80 in some tough conditions, but I told them to start the day that if we could get 300 then we might have a good shot at (winning). As it turned out, 302 or 303 would have got it done.”

The Cavs shot a 310 and had to settle for a tie for second with defending NJCAA national champion Central Alabama Community College, which had the best round on Tuesday with an 18-over 306. GSW dropped from second to fourth with a 313, which was the Hurricanes’ worst round of the tournament by nine strokes.

Scores were relatively high during the entire two-day, 54-hole tournament as teams battled wind and rain during Monday’s first two rounds and then bitter cold on Tuesday. Dover, however, believed his team should have played better on its home course.

“I’m not being negative, but we just need to grow up,” Dover said. “It’s time for us to start maturing a little bit. As you can tell, go look at the scores from all year long and we keep falling off the wagon. We will get somebody playing pretty good, and then he falls off. We just need to try to get it together.”

The Cavs didn’t make up any ground on Eastern Florida State, but they didn’t fall apart in Tuesday’s 40 degree temperatures either. Nobody shot worse than 7-over 79 for the Cavs, and Darton sophomore Tae Kim even posted a 2-over 74 to tie for third as an individual at 6-over for the tournament.

Kim double-bogeyed his opening hole with a four-putt but played even the rest of his round to shoot the third-best score of the day.

Brewton Parker sophomore and Jacksonville, Fla., native Dillon Board ran away with the individual medalist honors with a 7-under 210 — eight shots better than the rest of the field. There were only five rounds under par in the entire tournament, and Board had three of them.

“We are going to see if we can borrow (Board) for the rest of the year,” Dover joked. “What he did was pretty phenomenal out there. Nobody was even close to him.”

Wallace State’s Aksel Olsen finished second with a 218, and four other golfers joined Kim in a five-way tie for third place. Those finishing in third at 223 included Eastern Florida’s Brad Gray, CACC’s Andrew Klasing, GSW’s Nicholas Ward and Dalton State junior and former Darton golfer Chase Jones.

Ward stayed steady during the three rounds with scores of 76, 72 and 75.

“He has a great golf swing and hits the ball great,” GSW coach Darcy Donaldson said of Ward. “If he could putt a little better then he would be one of the better players in the country in Division II. He is only a freshman, so there is a bright future for him.”

GSW’s other scores Tuesday were Anders Olsson (77, T-8th), Fraser Johnston (80, T-12th), Jungsun Lee (81, T-38th) and Nick Ray (82, T-46th). Behind Kim, Darton’s third-round scores were Seth Sanders (78, T-10th), Madison Turner (79, T-15th), Hunter Elliot (79, T-24th) and Taylor Martin (79, 37th). Jake O’Bryan (78, T-12th), former Seminole County star Tyler Shamblin (83, T-27th) and Josh Glossop (85, T-42nd) played as individuals for the Cavs.