Scots, Bray win Maryville College Invitational Golf Tournament

Scots, Bray win Maryville College Invitational Golf Tournament

The Scots' men's golf won the 2017 Maryville College Invitational Tournament on Tuesday, posting a score of 581 in the two-day tournament.

Maryville saw each of its top five players finish inside the top 10, as the Scots topped the next-best squad by 59 strokes.

MC posted a round one score of 291, before coming back on day two with a 290.

"It was important for us to win, but it was more important for us to play well," Head Coach Ron Waters said. "We really didn't shoot the scores that we thought we could. The weather was a little difficult – getting cold with the wind blowing. With all that accounted for, I thought we played really well."

Freshman Tyler Bray earned his first collegiate tournament crown, posting a four-under 66 on day two. He shot an even-par 140 for the tournament, as his 66 ranks as the second-lowest score in MC history behind only former All-American Trey Bridwell's 64 in 2011.

Senior Doug Whitten finished second in the tournament with matching 73s for a 146, while D.J. Shelton tied for third with a 149 (73, 76).

Garrett Compliment finished tied for fifth with a 151 (71, 80), while Wil Manuel finished in 10th with a 79-75.

Bray, Whitten, Shelton and Compliment each earned All-Tournament honors along with Cleveland State Community College's Zach Kilby and Hendrix College's Ben Brezette.

"We got off to a really slow start today," Waters said. "At one point early on, we were 14-over par. Late in the round, we got it back to 10…We had some guys really make a run there at the end to bring us back."

Bray finished round two with a trio of birdies and an Eagle in the final four holes. On 18, the freshman hit his second shot to within a foot, tapping in the Eagle, before following suit on the par-four at hole 1.

He two-putted on hole 2 for his third consecutive under-par score to finish the match.

"I was hitting it well on those holes," Bray said.

He earned tournament champion, and becomes one of only six Scots to hold a title in MC's nine-year history of golf.

"Tyler is a guy who just kind of goes about his business," Waters said. "He just keeps playing. Sometimes, he actually looks like he's playing better than his score, and other times, he looks like he's struggling. He still finds a way to shoot a score."

His 66 gave him his seventh par-or-better performance of the 2017-18 season, tying him as second most with Bridwell from 2009-10. Only the former All-American's 10 rounds of par-of-better golf in 2010-11 ranks better.

"It means a lot," Bray said. "I've worked hard, and it's nice to see it pay off. I'm glad our team got the win, too. We've been working hard. I was off to a slow start [today]. I was two-over through nine, and then, I kind of turned on the jets. I went six-under in my last eight to close it out. That was nice to have everything click there at the end."

Whitten finished second in the tournament for Maryville to aid the Scots to victory, while playing at home was something he cherished.

"It was nice to be able to play a round at your home course," Whitten said. "I don't think I played to the number that I really wanted to, but I was able to have my short game keep me in the running. That was nice to be able to finish strong. It's always a challenge to beat Tyler. He's a great player, so, it's awesome that he could get that victory."

Whitten made a run in the end, however, in the effort. He made a birdie on 14, before holing out from the fairway on the par-4 15 for an Eagle.

The second-place effort was his highest of the season.

"Doug Whitten has just been an awesome guy to have in our program the last few years," Waters said. "We're going to miss him terribly when he's gone. He's our only senior, but Doug is a guy that approaches the game the right way. He gives 100 percent on every shot he hits, whether he is playing great or having a good day. You can't tell a difference in his focus. He's a very positive attitude, and he's just a fun guy to have on the team."

Currently, Bray and Whitten have led the Scots to a 35th ranking nationally and a 12th-place ranking in the Division III South Region.

Both those marks rank as records for Maryville College as the highest-ever rankings.

"I'm proud of that," Waters said. "We've had five guys play very solidly through the fall. D.J. Shelton had his best finish in his three-year career, and I'm very proud of that. That made a big difference. Wil struggled a little bit yesterday, and Garrett struggled today. D.J. stepped in there and shot us two solid scores. That made a big difference."

Cleveland State Community College finished in second place during the tournament with a 320-320, 640.

Hendrix College finished in third with a 641 (323, 318), as Maryville's second squad finished fourth with a 661 (332, 329).

MC's second squad played as a team, but rank as individuals in the final statistics.

Hunter DeSena tallied an 11th-place finish with a 78-77, 155, while Peyton Wheat had a 163 (81, 82), which was good enough for a tie for 14th. Brady Orr was 18th with an 86-80, 166, while Tyler Roller tied for 25th with an 87-90, 177.

Full results from the Maryville College Invitational can be found HERE.

Maryville will take the winter season off, before they return to action in the spring.

The Scots will tee off in the Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate, traveling to the Mountain View Golf Course in Pine Mountain, Ga. The tournament is set for Monday and Tuesday, March 5-6.