Sept. 23, 2013
On Sunday, the Tennessee men's golf team competed as the Southeastern Conference No. 3 seed in the Dick's Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup.
After a two-day, 54-hole stroke play, the teams at The Golf Club of Tennessee were seeded in order of finish and competed in the SEC/ACC Challenge. The Challenge involved either conference gaining a point after each individual match play victory. After all the points were totaled, the winning conference would be crowned with the honors of "Top Conference".
After all was said and done, the SEC emerged victorious with a 17-8 victory over the ACC.
"It was a fabulous tournament," Tennessee head coach Jim Kelson said. "It was probably the best tournament I've ever been a part of. We really appreciate all those who made it happen."
Helping the SEC to victory, the Vols defeated Wake Forest 3-2.
"I thought we really played well this weekend," Kelson said. "It was good to get a win against a great team like Wake Forest in the match play. Juan Carlos got us off to a great start early on when he won his match."
Juan Carlos Serrano Guevara came out roaring in his match play against Woody Woodward of Wake Forest. The freshman from Mexico City, Mexico won decisively 6&5 and set the tempo for the Volunteers' afternoon.
Danny Keddie, native of Lincoln, England, would be up next. The Englishman would fight to the bitter end but came up short, being defeated by John Varol of Wake Forest.
The Vol slide would continue when freshman Jack Smith lost 3&2 to Danny Guise of Wake Forest. However, that victory would be the last success the Demon Deacons would have on the day.
Brandon Rodgers closed the door on the Wake Forest rally, defeating Clancy Waugh 2&1. The victory would mark Rodgers' most successful weekend as a collegiate golfer.
The native of Farragut, Tenn., finished tenth in the Challenge Cup stroke play on Saturday, carding rounds of 72-69-71--212 (-1). Rodgers knocked in an eagle during his first round of play and finished with a total of 14 birdies.
"Brandon Rodgers really played well for us. I'm really proud of him," Kelson said. "Oliver [Goss] and Jack [Smith] helped us out, too. Oliver's birdie on the 18th hole of match play against [Thomas] Birdsey was big time."
The Big Orange's fate was sealed when sophomore Oliver Goss stepped up to the tee box. The Australian native defeated Wake Forest senior Thomas Birdsey, 2-up.
Goss felt right at home with Sunday's match play format. The All-American had plenty of experience with it after his runner-up finish at U.S. Amateur Championship.
"That was huge," Goss said of the U.S. Amateur experience. "It's the biggest tournament amateurs can play in... it just helped me a lot."
Goss was up early against Birdsey, but the Demon Deacon senior fought back by sinking a few clutch shots to square the match back up at the turn. Goss nailed birdies on three consecutive back-nine holes to regain the lead. However, a few mistakes by the Australian would have the match all tied up after 15 holes.
A little adversity is nothing new for Goss as he recaptured the lead on the 16th hole and never looked back. Goss won his match, 2-up, and clinched a team victory for Tennessee, 3-2.
TENNESSEE'S MATCH PLAY
Tennessee will be back in action at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate in Jonesborough, Tenn., on October 11.
Volunteer fans can continue to keep up with the team by following @Vol_Golf on Twitter.