Sports Information Director
OAK FOREST, Ill. – The Holy Cross men's golf team wrapped up their 2014 spring season on Tuesday in the 2014 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Championship at George Dunne National in Oak Forest, Ill. With an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship tournament on the line for the top two teams, the Saints competed in the 12-team field with the rest of the conference. After posting a day one total of 315, the Saints matched that score in round two as they finished in third place as a team with a score of 630. Despite not receiving one of the National tournament bids, senior captain Matthew Code (SR/Belleville, Ontario, Canada) took home the individual medalist honors after shooting a tournament-best 36-hole score of 151 to receive an individual bid to Daytona Beach for the NAIA National Championship.
"Although we would have liked to have earned a bid as a team, I'm extremely happy and proud of Matthew," first year head coach T.J. Mannen stated. "He's been a consistent player his entire career and always seems to play his best on the big stage."
It was Code who would set the tone for the Saints in round one, posting an opening round of 74 and sitting in second place individually. Michael Fitzgerald (SR/Flossmoor, Ill.) would respond from a 41 on the front nine to finish with a 38 on the back and a 79 for the round.
Ted Rider (FR/Vicksburg, Mich.) and Chris Noble (JR/Niles, Mich.) each carded rounds of 81 to round out the Saints round one total of 315 while Cody Richardson (SO/Howe, Ind.) concluded the opening round with an 85.
After round one, the Saints sat five strokes behind second place Saint Xavier and seven strokes behind day one leader Cardinal Stritch.
The Saints remained consistent on the final round of the CCAC Championship, posting another team score of 315 to finish with a tournament score of 630.
Matthew Code and Michael Fitzgerald combined to lead the way for the Saints in round two, each carding rounds of 77. Code would then finish in a tie for first place with a 36-hole score of 151 while Fitzgerald added a 156 and a sixth place individual finish.
Freshman Ted Rider would score three strokes less on day two as he finished with a 78 in the round and a 36-hole score of 159 and a 12th place finish in his first-ever CCAC tournament appearance. Cody Richardson rounded out the Saints 315 score on day two with a round of 83 while Chris Noble concluded the event with an 85.
The 36-hole total of 630 placed the Saints in third place for the event, trailing eventual tournament champions Saint Xavier and runner-up Cardinal Stritch.
With 36-holes complete, there was still one spot to be decided: who would take home the individual medalist honors. Matthew Code and Kyle Bahnick of Saint Xavier sat dead-locked at 151 through the two rounds and a playoff was needed to decide the individual tournament champion.
Code would bring home the honors after winning the first playoff hole with a par, becoming the third consecutive Holy Cross men's golfer to win the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) individual championship. With the win, Code booked himself a spot in the NAIA National Championship in Daytona, Fla. at the LPGA National.
Saint Xavier posted rounds of 310 and 308 to take home the conference title with a score of 618 and receive an automatic qualifying bid for the NAIA National Championship. Cardinal Stritch finished in second place with a team score of 625, securing the second automatic bid the CCAC would produce.
Despite falling just short on a team bid, coach Mannen had a lot to be proud of during his first season as head coach.
"Our guys had another great season for our program," continued Mannen. "They put in so much work over the course of the season and always gave themselves a chance in every event. We will use this as motivation for next season as we look to continue building the consistency our program has had over the last several years."
The Saints wrap up the 2013-2014 season with 11 top-five finishes and three tournament championships.
With the regular season completed, be sure to stay tuned for updates on Matthew Code's appearance at the NAIA Nationals. The event will begin on May 13 and conclude on May 16.