By STEVE WILLIAMS
Wake Forest’s strong March play has the Demon Deacons feeling confident heading into the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament April 14-17 at The Reserve Club in Pawleys Island, S.C. Wake Forest closed out the regular season with a third-place finish in the Liz Murphey Collegiate in Athens, Ga. South Carolina won the 16-team event with 874 (10-over par) and the Demon Deacons were 10 shots off the pace. “We didn’t quite have our A-game, but we still had a strong finish in a strong field,” said coach Kim Lewellen. “We are finishing our regular season on a good note and have plenty of things to work towards for postseason play.” Earlier in March, Wake Forest won the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate and placed second in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. The Demon Deacons have four team titles for the 2021-22 season and placed in the top 10 in all nine of their tournaments.
At the end of March, Wake Forest ranked fourth in the nation, according to GolfStat and fifth by Golfweek. Stanford tops both lists and South Carolina is in the top five. Virginia holds the second best national ranking among ACC teams.
- Emily Hawkins added three more top-10 finishes to her career resume at Campbell in March, highlighted by a tie for second in the Briar’s Creek Invitational (March 14-15). The senior from Lexington shot 71-70-71 and led the Camels to an 11-shot victory in the 17-team event. Hawkins claimed her second career title earlier this year and now has 16 career top-10s.
- Malory Fobes, a UNC Wilmington junior from East Bend, tied for eighth in the River Landing Classic (March 6-8) with 76-74-67.
- Junior Kayla Smith of Burlington posted a tie for 13th at the Clover Cup (March 11-13) and led North Carolina to a tie for seventh in the 17-team event. Her 72-72-70 tally was 10 shots back of the leader and marked her fifth top-20 of the season.
- Hailey Joy of Reidsville shot 77-77-74 and tied for 20th among 68 players in the Pinetree Women’s Collegiate (March 21-22). The UNCG senior helped the Spartans to a season-best fifth-place finish.
- Michael Childress claimed a tie for sixth in the Forest Creek Collegiate (March 12-13) with 75-70, helping Richmond to a fourth place finish in the 11-team event. Childress, a senior from Salisbury, ended five shots back of Walker Isley (72-68), who led UNC Wilmington to the team title.
- Nick Lyerly continued his strong spring play with a tie for 16th in the Linger Longer Invitational at Eatonton, Ga. (March 20-22). Lyerly, a UNCG senior from Salisbury, posted 73-70-70 in the 90-player event.
- A second-round 67 helped Yale’s Blake Brantley claim a tie for 16th in the UC San Diego Invitational at La Costa CC in Carlsbad, Calif. (March 21-22). Brantley, a freshman from Winston-Salem, sandwiched his career best round with 76 and 75 and helped Yale tie for sixth in the 14-team event.
- Caden Baker helped Charlotte to a victory in the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate (March 2-4) with a tie for 20th. Baker, a freshman from Mebane, shot 76-72-69. The final-round score helped the 49ers post 270 as they rallied from two-shot deficit to an 18-shot romp in the 20-team event at Palm Desert, Calif. Ben Woodruff, a junior from Huntersville, won the individual title with 69-70-67.
- Sophomore Sam Davidson of Asheboro fired 72-71-71 and claimed a tie for 20th among 150 players in the Jekyll Island Collegiate (March 18-20). He had the low score for Guilford, which placed 12th in the 29-team event. Fellow sophomore Landon Barnes of Pilot Mountain posted his best collegiate finish a couple weeks later when he tied for 16th at the Wynlakes Intercollegiate at Montgomery, Ala. Barnes shot 72-76.