Sunday was Grady Anderson’s last chance to play in the Intercollegiate Golf Championship at the Paradise Point Golf Course on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, and the former Lejeune High School student made the most of it.
Anderson shot a 1-under-par round of 72 on Sunday, finishing third individually, and his N.C. Wesleyan teammates came in third overall as the team, making for a happy homecoming for the college senior who is set to graduate later this year.
“It was a really enjoyable round. I never really felt like there was a whole lot of pressure,” said Anderson, who shot a 4-under-par round of 66 in Friday’s opening round on the Scarlet course and finished at 3-under-par for the tournament. “I just tried to take in everything since it was my last ever round here at the Intercollegiate. I just tried to enjoy every moment and enjoy every shot.”
Anderson said he played stress-free golf on the Gold course, which was set up with some tough pin positions designed to challenge the top collegiate golfers in the field.
“It was a pretty steady round, lots of greens and lots of fairways,” Anderson said. “It was a pretty consistent round.”
Methodist dominated Sunday’s third round of the tournament to win the team title, its fourth straight and 13th overall at MCB Camp Lejeune. Methodist entered Sunday’s final round with just a three-stroke lead, with four colleges within four shots of each other. However, Methodist won by eight strokes with a team score of 863. Hampden-Sydney was second with a team score of 871, while N.C. Wesleyan also totaled 871 but lost a scorecard playoff and was third overall.
“We went in with the mindset that we had to win the day,” Methodist coach Steve Conley said of Sunday’s final round. “I knew if we played solid that some other team would have to do something pretty special to beat us.”
Methodist’s Larkin Gross took medalist honors for the tournament. A second-round 63 gave him the lead heading into Sunday’s final round, and he produced a 2-under 71, taking the individual tournament title with a 12-under total. He won by nine shots over Zach Treilbos of, Translyvania and Anderson.
“Larkin played fantastic. He really carried us,” Conley said.
Gross finished tied for second at last year’s Intercollegiate and entered Sunday’s final round with a 5-shot lead. By his second hole of the day, the par-3 17th, he knew he was in good shape.
“I hit it about a foot and a half or two feet for birdie on my second hole of the day,” Gross said. “Getting a birdie on that hole, that definitely helped, getting off to a good start.”
Gross said he entered Sunday’s final round without thinking of the individual title.
“On the last day of the tournament, it’s all about the team,” Gross said. “The individual title is the icing on the cake. If I played well for the team, then the individual thing, that should take care of itself. I was cognizant of it at the end, but I was really trying to focus on what was best for the team.”
The tournament features a unique format in which the collegiate players are paired with amateurs and Marine partners on the first two days. For Gross, it’s what makes the tournament special.
“We all love coming here. They treat us very well,” Gross said. “It’s a cool tournament. Getting to play with the Marines, it’s an awesome experience. It’s a neat format, getting to play with a Marine and getting to play with an amateur. There’s not any other event like it, so it’s awful fun to come here.”
The tournament also includes a MCB Camp Lejeune team, which this year included 14-year-old Tyler Jones. He opened the tournament with rounds of 75 and 76, and though his Sunday 87 wasn’t what he wanted, Jones said he learned a lot and looks forward to improving and becoming a collegiate golfer one day.
“It was a great experience, but I wish I could have done better,” Jones said. “Their mental game is a lot better than mine, and their experience helps a lot. They have good games, but the mental game is a big part of it, and that’s what I lack right now. I definitely want to do this again next year.”
The highlight of the day came from Michael Allen from Averett University. He hit a hole-in-one on the par-3, 163-yard 17th hole, the first ace of his career.
“I’ve been pretty close, but I’ve never had one before,” Allen said. “I never saw it go in because of the angle from the tee box, you can’t see the hole, but I knew I hit a good shot.”
On the Scarlet course, Lynchburg won the team title with a score of 873, while Keith Cooper of Virginia Wesleyan was the medalist with a score of 205.