William Register began his freshman season at North Carolina in solid fashion, notching a tie for 18th at the Carpet Capital Collegiate followed by a sixth-place finish in the Tar Heel Intercollegiate.
But the former Burlington Williams High School star took it to another level at the Primland Collegiate Invitational when the Tar Heels closed out a busy September.
Firing 66-65-68 at Primland Resort’s Highlands Course, Register broke the UNC record for an all-time 54-hole tournament score with 199 and tied the UNC record for all-time individual score in relation to par with a 17-under total. He needed every stroke to hold off Michael Johnson, a junior from Auburn, who posted 200 (67-67-66). No one else in the 50-player field was close; there was a four-way tie for third at 205.
“What a fantastic event by William,” UNC coach Andrew Sapp said. “It’s an incredible score of 17-under to win his first college tournament. I am so proud of his determination this week.”
Register, a lefty, came out firing in the first round, notching five birdies on his first nine. He added another on the back. He began the second round, played on the same day, with three straight birdies and ended with seven.
He didn’t cool off much on day two – opening with two straight birdies. He added another at the fifth before suffering his first bogey of the tournament at the par-4 seventh. He closed the front nine with a birdie at the ninth and then posted two more birdies against a bogey on the back nine.
“It is relieving to get a win,” Register said. “I feel like I have been close a lot over the past year in tournaments, and it feels great to finish one off.”
The previous record of 202 was held by Kevin O’Connell (2007) and Brad Hyler (1998) while John Inman had the record for score in relation to par when he finished 17-under par at the 1984 NCAA Championship. He now shares that mark with Register.
Wake Forest, playing host to an event for the first time in 28 years, captured the team title with a sizzling score of 38-under par. The Deacons started on a roll and kept it going with totals of 275, 274 and 277.
Auburn kept the heat on Wake Forest throughout the tournament and shaved three shots off the deficit the final day but still ended one back at 37-under-par. Penn State placed third, 12 shots off the pace.
The Deacs were led by High Point junior Davis Womble, who tied for third with 71-66-68, 11-under par. That bested his previous career-low 54-hole mark of 7-under which he shot in the season-opening Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic earlier in September. Womble has carded six-straight under-par rounds to start the year and leads the team with a 69.0 scoring average.
All five of Wake’s players finished under par and placed 21st or better. Freshman Tanner Owen of High Point tied for 18th after a 70-72-69 effort.