JONESBORO, Ark. (4/3/12) - Sawyer Radler turned in the best performance of his career as a member of the Arkansas State men's golf team on Tuesday to collect medalist honors at the Red Wolf Intercollegiate, carding a final-round 67 and winning a four-man playoff on the fourth hole to give A-State its first individual title at its home tournament since 2008.
Radler finished Monday's opening two rounds tied for eighth place and three strokes out of the lead, but was able to force a sudden-death playoff with Vanderbilt's Charlie Ewing and Will Snipes and UT Martin's Graham Sleigh by recording the lowest round of his career. After finishing regulation play with a career-best 209, which also matched the lowest three-round total in this history of the tournament, Radler posted a birdie on hole No. 18 at the RidgePointe Country Club to claim the championship.
"Sawyer was just kind of feeling it out there, and I'm extremely proud of him," said ASU head coach Steve Johnson. "Sawyer is a player that doesn't get too far ahead of himself in a round and doesn't dwell on missed shots. I was just really glad to see his ball striking catch up with his course management and his mental game."
Radler's 4-under par 209 also included a 69 and 73 for the first and second rounds, respectively, and he joined Tyler Thompson (2008), Jason Jackson (2001) and Bart Burton (1999) as ASU players to win the Red Wolf Intercollegiate.
"I'm a senior and I really love playing in this tournament, so this is a really special way for me to end my home career," said Radler.
The Red Wolves used two teams in the tournament with the top squad finishing seventh among the 22 competing teams. Led by Radler, A-State recorded a combined 878 for its third lowest three-round total of the season. ASU posted its best score of the tournament on Tuesday, shooting a final-round 289 to climb one place in the final standings.
The squad that included Radler, Wessel Zwiegers, Chris Pledger, Cory Williamson and Eli Mattioli also posted a 291 for the first round and a 298 for the second. ASU stood in fourth place at the conclusion of the opening 18 holes, but dropped four places in the second round.
Joining Radler among the top-25 individual leaders was Zwiegers, who finished a season-best tied for 19th place with a 217. After posting a 73 to start the tournament, Zwiegers shot a 72 for each of the final two rounds to tie his lowest single-round score of the season.
ASU's second competing squad finished 22nd with a 910, but posted a final-round 291 that was the eighth lowest of the day. Christian Helmbold and Matt Howton led the second ASU team, both finishing tied for 67th place after entering the final day of competition tied for 82nd.
"I saw some good play from some of our younger players, and that's one thing we can take away from this tournament as a team," said Johnson. "I think we saw some guys start to come around a little bit, so that was good to see with our conference tournament coming up in a few weeks."
ASU will next compete at the Memphis Intercollegiate, set for April 9-10.
ARKANSAS STATE RESULTS
Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2-RD-3--TOTAL)
T7, Arkansas State (291-298-289--878)
1, Sawyer Radler (69-73-67--209)
T19, Wessel Zwiegers (73-72-72--217)
T67, Chris Pledger (73-76-76--225)
T78, Cory Williamson (76-77-74--227)
T106, Eli Mattioli (77-81-79--237)
ARKANSAS STATE (B) RESULTS
Place, Name (RD 1-RD 2-RD-RD 3--TOTAL)
22, Arkansas State (B) (312-307-291--910)
T67, Christian Helmbold (74-79-72--225)
T67, Matt Howton (80-73-72--225)
T91, Christian Pitz (79-79-73--231)
103, Chance Holden (83-78-74--235)
T108, Tommy Eagon (79-77-82--238)
T94, Alex Hewitt* (77-80-75--232)
*Competed as an individual