Penn State came into the Seminole Intercollegiate as the No. 56 team in the latest Golfstat rankings, but that ranking may improve after the Nittany Lions completed an impressive wire-to-wire team victory Sunday at the Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla.
Penn State took control of the tournament with a remarkable opening round of 15-under-par 273 and never wavered, adding an 11-under 277 in the middle round and closing it out with a 5-under 283 for a 31-under 833 total. It was the best total shot since the event moved to the 7,172-yard, par-72 Southwood layout in 2010.
Leading the way was junior Cole Miller, a former Northwestern Lehigh standout who fired a final round of 4-under 68 to capture the individual title at 15-under 201. Miller’s 15-under total was also the best for the event since it moved to Southwood. He was two shots clear of runnerup Henry Ellis of host Florida State. Ellis, a redshirt junior from England, entered the final round tied for the individual lead with Miller, but only managed a 2-under 70 in the final round for a 13-under 203 total.
Miller gave himself some breathing room with an eagle at the par-5 16th. It was his fourth eagle of the weekend. No other team had as many.
Penn State finished three shots ahead of the two heavyweights in the field, the host Seminoles, ranked 30th, and No. 25 Georgia Tech, which shared second place at 28-under 836. The Yellow Jackets had a final round of 8-under 280 while Florida State carded a 4-under 284.
“Incredible win, fighters, so proud of this team,” head coach Greg Nye told the Penn State website.
No. 72 James Madison surged up the leaderboard with a final round of 8-under 280, tying Georgia Tech for the day’s best, to finish fourth at 17-under 847. No. 67 Troy was another shot back in fifth at 16-under 848 after a final-round 287, No. 120 West Virginia was sixth at 15-under 849 after a final-round 286 and No. 31 Jacksonville took seventh at 13-under 851 after a final-round 284.
It was the first college tournament win for Miller, who captured the Pennsylvania Amateur at Moselem Springs Golf Club last summer. It marked the second straight individual title for the Nittany Lions with Charles Huntzinger, a sophomore from Duluth, Ga., prevailing over an even deeper field at last fall’s Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate.
Huntzinger had another strong showing at Southwood as he backed up Miller’s winning effort by tying for 12th at 7-under 209. Huntzinger bookended a 3-under 69 in the middle round with a pair of 2-under 70s in first and final rounds.
Sophomore Ryan Dornes, a former Manheim Township standout, matched par in the final round to finish tied for 27th at 2-under 214. Ryan Davis, a freshman from Berkeley Heights, N.J., had a final-round 75 to finish tied for 31st at even-par 216. Christian Elliott, a senior from Canada, bounced back from a 78 in the middle round with a critical 1-over 73 in Sunday’s final round to finish tied for 44th at 3-over 219.
JD Hughes, a sophomore from Carlisle, competed as an individual and shot three straight 72s to finish tied for 31st in the group with Davis at even-par 216.
Third place in the individual chase went to Georgia Tech’s Luke Schniederjans, a freshman from Powder Springs, Ga. and the younger brother of former Yellow Jacket star and PGA Tour player Ollie Schniederjans. Schniederjans had a final round of 4-under 68 to finish at 11-under 205.
West Virginia’s Alan Cooke, a senior from Parkersburg, W.Va., finished alone in fourth at 10-under 206 after a final-round 68.
Jacksonville’s David Wicks, a senior from England, James Madison’s Ryan Cole, a senior from Mount Airy, Md., and Troy’s Clay Vannoy, a senior from Pensacola, Fla., finished in a tie for fifth at 9-under 207. Wicks had a final-round 70, Cole fired a 5-under 67 and Vannoy matched the low score of the day with a 6-under 66.
George Mason’s Eric Edwards, a junior from Salisbury, N.C., had the other 66, a round that vaulted him into the tie for 12th in the group with Penn State’s Huntzinger at 7-under 209.