After taking home first-place finishes in the first two tournaments of the 2021-2022 season, the No. 4 North Carolina men’s golf team finished in a three-way tie for fourth place Wednesday in the Blessings Collegiate Invitational in Johnson, Ark.
The Tar Heels struggled in the first round of the three-day tournament Monday, finishing tied for seventh at four-over-par. Junior Austin Greaser was a bright spot on a tough first day for UNC, shooting a 69 which was good enough to put him at second place on the individual leaderboard heading into the second day. Greaser finished the first round with five birdies and two bogeys on his scorecard. First-year Peter Fountain also had a solid first round, shooting a one-under-par 71, which was good enough for tenth-place.
On Tuesday, the Tar Heels regained some momentum by shooting 282, which was ten strokes better than their day one total. UNC’s stellar performance in the second round vaulted the team to fifth-place overall where the Tar Heels sat nine strokes behind the host, Arkansas, heading into the final round. Greaser and teammate Ryan Gerard both finished at three-under-par and shot 69’s on the second day.
In the final round, the Tar Heels moved up one more spot to finish the tournament tied for fourth-place with Tennessee and Illinois. The fourth-ranked group finished the third round with 289 total strokes which was the fourth-best team finish of the day. UNC finished the tournament at one-under-par, falling 17 strokes short of the first-place Razorbacks.
Who stood out?
Gerard led the Tar Heels this week, finishing the tournament tied for sixth at six-under-par. The senior from Raleigh shot an impressive 65 on the last day, which was the lowest third-round score of any competitor.
Greaser and Fountain also put together nice outings for UNC, with both finishing in the top 15. Greaser, who shot three-under-par with 213 total strokes, finished tied for ninth, and Fountain, who finished one stroke behind his veteran teammate, ended up tied for 12th place.
When was it decided?
After falling behind early on the first day to seventh place, the Tar Heels picked up their play on day two, but they were only able to jump one more spot on the final day. UNC came within four strokes of the first-place Razorbacks after the front nine on day three, but they were unable to finish the comeback after dropping some key strokes on the back nine.
Why does it matter?
After starting the season red hot with two first-place finishes at Duke and Illinois, the Tar Heels lost some of their early momentum against a tough field in Arkansas. UNC, who fell to sixth in Golfweek’s latest rankings, struggled early but showed some fight in the second and third rounds, digging themselves out of the bottom half of the leaderboard to finish fourth.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will be back in action on Oct. 25 as they play host for the Williams Cup at Eagle Pointe Golf Club in Wilmington, N.C. The two-day tournament, which consists of a ten-team field, will honor former UNC men’s basketball head coach Roy Williams and his wife, Wanda.
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