March 11, 2012
PINEHURST, N.C. - Villanova junior Michael Kania locked up his first career individual championship today by shooting a 2-over 73 to win by 6 strokes at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate at the par-71, 6,819-yard Pinehurst No. 6. His victory led to Villanova's 5th place finish out of 12 teams with a score of 302-290-290--882 (+30).
Head Coach James Wilkes said of the outing, “I’m really proud of the fact that we bounced back with solid numbers in the second and third rounds after struggling through the first round. Our guys just don’t quit and they played hard for all 54 holes this weekend. As far as Mike, it’s awesome for him and he represented Villanova golf perfectly this weekend with his performance. The whole team couldn’t be happier.”
Kania entered the day with a 3 shot lead over Old Dominion's Garth McGee and his lead was never less than two shots throughout the entire final round. He started on hole number 10 and had six pars, two bogies, and one birdie coming in as he led by two strokes with just nine holes to play. Kania then had an up-and-down back nine, but his three birdies in a seven hole stretch kept the junior ahead of his competition and he finished out the first Wildcat individual title since Brendan Kelly's tie for first at the McLaughlin in the fall of 2011 with a par on his 18th hole. His -6 in par 5s for the week led the field. Kania has been playing great golf thus far this year after having a tie for 12th place finish last week at the USF Invitational prior to winning this weekend. He now has 2 top-10 finishes, which leads the team, and 2 top-20s.
Kania said after the round, "I want to thank my teammates and coaches. It was a real honor to win, but mostly I was proud of the team for getting to fifth place. I hope we can continue to play well going into BIG EASTs and finish out the season strong.”
Villanova improved from seventh to fifth place in the final round by shooting +6 (290) in the final 18 holes. Senior Brian Colbert shot the best final round on the team with a 70 (-1) that included three birdies. With this final round, Colbert moved all the way up to a tie for 14th place, which was his third top-20 finish on the season, which leads the team. After shooting an 80 in round one, the senior responded with back-to-back 70s.
Junior Derek Jones finished in a tie for 44th with a 79-75-74--228 (+15) after having a steady third round with 13 pars.
Junior Steve Skurla responded after a tough second round with a 73 (+2) in round three. Skurla finished in a tie for 50th place after firing a 76-81-73--230 (+17).
Rounding out the top five for Villanova was junior Jimmy Johnston in a tie for 52nd with a 78-77-76--231 (+18).
Old Dominion won the team championship with an 871 (+19), just 11 shots ahead of Villanova in the competitive field. The Wildcats finished just two shots back of fourth place Virginia Tech.
Villanova will have a couple weeks off before hosting the Wildcat Invitational at White Manor Country Club on April 2-3.