The UNC men’s golf team finished the fall season the same way it began it: ranked No. 1 and standing in the winner’s circle.
The Tar Heels won the East Lake Cup Wednesday at the Atlanta Athletic Club, defeating Georgia Tech and Florida State in match play to clinch the title. It marks their third victory of the fall in five starts. They had previously won the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational in their first start and the Williams Cup in their third. The Atlanta Athletic Club is the home course of twins Maxwell and David Ford, and the juniors finished tied for second in the individual competition Monday at 3-under-par.
North Carolina’s lineup in Atlanta included the Fords, graduate Austin Greaser, graduate Kenan Poole and senior Peter Fountain. After reaching the final four in last season’s NCAA Championship, the Tar Heels competed against the three other semi finalists: Florida, Florida State and Georgia Tech.
Both Maxwell and David recorded bogey-free 33s on the inward side Monday to post 69. Maxwell Ford got a true member's bounce on the par-3 17th that helped to keep his back-nine scorecard clean. He mishit his tee shot, and it was destined for the water short of the green before bouncing high off the retaining wall and onto the surface. UNC finished the 18-hole stroke play portion of the event in second at 3-under and matched up against three seed Georgia Tech in the semifinals.
Fountain lost the first match 4-and-3, but David Ford and Greaser won the next two comfortably to give the Tar Heels a 2-1 lead. They needed to win one of the final two to advance to the finals. It was by no means easy.
The last two matches both went to extra holes. Poole played a back-and-forth match against second ranked amateur Christo Lamprecht, losing on the 21st hole. The Tar Heels’ hopes then hung on Maxwell Ford.
Down two with two to play, he came back to tie his match against the individual champion, Georgia Tech's Kale Fontenot. From left of the green and a tough, side-hill lie on 18, he hit a beautiful pitch (complete with a club twirl and wry smile) that set up birdie and won him the hole.
He won the fourth playoff hole with the help of another exquisite short shot to see the Tar Heels advance.