Justin Smith tied the course record with a 7-under-par 65 in the final round of the Landfall Tradition Sunday to spark the Minnesota men's golf team to the team title at the Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C.
Playing in near-perfect conditions on the par 72, 6,973-yard layout at the Jack Nicklaus course, the Gophers successfully defended their men's championship by carding a 284-287-280=851, a comfortable 15 strokes better than runner-up Ohio State at 286-290-290=866. Tennessee came in third at 296-291-281=868, host UNC Wilmington finished fourth at 297-281-291=869 and Penn State wound up fifth at 295-288-288=871.
Smith, a senior from Moon Township, Pa., fired a three-day total of 69-74-65=208 for medalist honors in the 60-man field. He dropped in three birdies on the front nine and added four on the back side to match the record set Saturday by Chris Noel of Tulsa. Smith edged teammate Ryan Paulson (Minneapolis, Minn./Holy Angels) by two shots for his second individual title of the fall schedule and the 12th-ranked Golden Gophers third straight team title of the season. Paulson recorded his highest finish as a collegian after an even-par 72 in the final round to finish at 6-under 210.
Freshman Bronson LaCassie (Camira, Queensland/Kelvin Grove) also fired a 72 Sunday and finished fifth at 4-under 212. Junior Ben Greve (Annandale, Minn./Annandale) carded a final round 71 and tied for 25th at 221 (+5) and freshman John Hempstock (Colvend, Scotland/Dumfries Academy) shot a 73 to tie for 47th.
CC of Landfall - Nicklaus (Wilmington, N.C.)
Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2003
1. Minnesota 284-287-280=851
2. Ohio State 286-290-290=866
3. Tennessee 296-291-281=868
4. UNC-Wilmington 297-281-291=869
5. Penn State 295-288-288=871
6. Tulsa 300-283-290=873
7. Purdue 304-287-287=878
8. Memphis 301-288-295=885
9. Missouri 302-288-295=885
10. Florida State 297-294-298=887
11. East Tenn. State 305-294-290=889
12. Virginia Tech 306-294-294=894
1 Justin Smith 69-74-65=208 (-8)
2 Ryan Paulson 70-68-72=210 (-6)
5 Bronson La' Cassie 71-69-72=212 (-4)
T25 Ben Greve 74-76-71=221 (+5)
T47 John Hempstock 74-80-73=227 (+11)