Former North Surry High School golf standout Taylor Coalson rallied from a slow start in the three-day Tiger Invitational, a collegiate golf event held at the Grand National Lake Course in Opelika, Ala. co-hosted by nearby Auburn University and PGA standout Jason Dufner.
Coalson, a senior on the UNC-Greensboro team, along with teammate Jake McGlone, a junior, were the co-medalists at the 54-hole tournament. Thanks to their efforts, the Spartans, ranked just 68th nationally going into the event, wound up in third place overall against a challenging field.
Coalson and McGlone notched their first-ever career victories by finishing in a tie at 3-under par 213, winning by a stroke over three other golfers tied for third at 2-under 214. The victory is the top finish for both golfers in their career, surpassing a second-place showing by Coalson last year at the Auto Trader Intercollegiate and a third-place finish by McGlone at the Southern Conference Championships.
Coalson opened the event with a 4-over par 76 in round one before catching fire on the final two days of the event. He carded a 3-under 69 in round two before posting his lowest round of the year so far, a 4-under 68 on Tuesday. His final round included three birdies, a bogey and an eagle-3 on the par-5 522-yard No. 12. Additionally, he closed out the event with six straight pars down the stretch to head into the clubhouse with the lead. He posted 33 par scores and 12 birdies during the three days of competition.
McGlone was consistent all week long, opening with a 2-under par 70 in round one before posting a 1-over 73 in round two. He pulled into the lead with a 2-under 70 in round three, posting five birdies on the day. He closed his final round by notching a birdie on holes No. 16 and No. 18 to pull into a tie with Coalson. He was second overall in the event with 15 total birdies.
Their play helped the Spartans notch their fourth top three-finish of the season and the fifth top-five showing of the year. UNCG moved up to third place overall with a 14-over par 878 score after three rounds (300-293-285). The Spartans’ 285 score in the final round is their lowest third round score of the year. No. 67 Troy won the event with a 2-under 862, while fifth-ranked Auburn was second at 1-over 865.
Freshmen Bryce Hendrix moved up 28 spots on the leaderboard in the final round of play. He finished tied for 45th overall at 11-over par 227. Hendrix opened the week with a 5-over 76 before posting a 9-over 81 on Monday. He carded his lowest round of the year Tuesday, recording a 2-under 70 with five birdies, three bogeys and 11 par scores.
Senior Luke Haithcock finished tied for 63rd overall as he was 15-over par 231. Haithcock posted scores of 79-75-77 on the week, including finishing the event with a birdie on hole No. 18 Tuesday. Sophomore Josh Stockwell rounded out the lineup with a 17-over 233 (78-76-79) to finish in a tie for 71st overall.
Joining the Spartans in the 18-team field were two teams representing Auburn, No. 25 Kentucky, Troy, Kennesaw State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, VCU, Georgia State, UNCW, Southeastern Louisiana, Kansas State, South Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Jacksonville State and Tulsa.