Golf grinds out sixth place finish in A-10 tournament

A season-low round on day two of the three-day Atlantic 10 Championship helped the defending champion Colonials finish sixth this weekend, but was not enough for a surprise top finish.

Charlotte captured the A-10 title with a 20-under 844 for its seventh title in the last eight years – the lone loss coming last year when GW snuck in and snatched the crown.

The tournament, held at the Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs, Fla., saw GW play its best golf on the second day, shooting a season-low team score of one-under 287 and climbing past St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island to jump into sixth place.

“I am extremely proud of the way we came back over the final two rounds,” head coach Terry Schaffer said in a release. “It was great for the team to play some of its best golf of the season in this tournament.”

GW shot a nine-over 297 through the first 18 holes of the tournament, to end day one in eighth place. Freshman Howard Hickey kept the team within six shots of the top five with his four birdies and one-over par 73 performance. His accuracy was especially impressive in light of the 15 to 20 mile-per-hour winds that blew steadily throughout the day Friday.

On day two, freshman Steve Piela carded a season-best round of one-under par 71 to help the team shave five shots off of its previous season-low.

“I’m very proud of the way our guys bounced back from yesterday and handled today’s conditions,” Shaffer said. “Our freshmen stepped up in a big way and if we can repeat today’s performance on Sunday we will be in the hunt for a top-five finish, which would be great for our young team.”

The Colonials couldn’t pull off a surprise upset like last season’s A-10 Championship, but their plus-three 291 team shooting on day three was enough to secure the sixth place finish. Hickey continued to improve, breaking his own season-low from the day before with a two-under 70 that catapulted him into a tie for seventh overall in the individual player rankings.

“Howard was spectacular, and I’m particularly proud of his play over the last three tournaments,” Shaffer added. “He has showed great character and consistency to finish out his freshman season.”

Sophomore Jack Persons, the only returning member from the 2012 tournament line-up, tied for 28th overall with a three-round 5-over 221. Piela posted five birdies on Sunday to record a 1-over par 73 and finish tied for 22nd at 3-over 219.

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