DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The William Woods University Owls golf team made a hard charge to establish another program milestone.
Second-ranked William Woods shot a cumulative 1-over par 289 in Friday's third and final round at the LPGA International Golf Club to finish in a tie for third place at the NAIA men's national championships. It was the Owls' best-ever finish in school history.
William Woods tallied an 874 total (289-296-289) to share third place with Johnson & Wales (Fla.), which finished with rounds of 292, 290 and 292. The Owls were in seventh place after Wednesday's second round, but bad weather Thursday delayed the third round until Friday.
The championships were then shortened to 54 holes from the original 72 because play had to be completed Friday. It was the fourth time in NAIA men's golf history - and the first since 2002 - that the championships were reduced to three rounds.
William Woods came in 9 strokes behind College of Coastal Georgia, which captured its first-ever national title with an 865 (285-296-284). Reigning champion Oklahoma City was 4 shots back in second place with an 869 (287-294-288).
The Owls were sparked by junior Julian Taylor, who was tied for 35th when play started Friday but responded with a 3-under par 69 to end up in a four-way tie for 12th with a 216 total. Taylor - who shot a 75 and 72 in the first and second rounds, respectively - was named to the NAIA all-tournament team for the third straight year.
Making his first appearance at the national championships, freshman David Houlding followed Taylor by finishing in a six-way tie for 19th place with a 218 (72-73-73). Meanwhile, senior Monty Lack (70-74-78) and freshman Billy McKenzie (72-77-73) both carded 222 totals in splitting 41st with four other golfers.
Freshman Matt Wells rounded out William Woods' scoring, accumulating a 228 score (75-79-74) to finish in a 10-way tie for 75th place.
The Owls also learned Friday that Taylor and junior teammate Tyler Hamilton were both selected to the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete team.
The sixth-ranked William Woods Lady Owls will now get their turn when the NAIA women's national championships begin play Tuesday in Lincoln, Nebraska.