No. 2 Men's Golf Captures SSC Championships

Jared Dalga (left) hit a brilliant 4-iron and Scott Smyers sank a 15-foot putt as both eagled the par-5 second hole, and Barry men's golf captured its first SSC Championship. Photo by Joel Auerbach

DADE CITY, Fla. -- Jared Dalga and Scott Smyers share a common bond as Buccaneers junior men's golfers. Now they and the rest of their teammates are connected on an even greater level in the aftermath of capturing the program's first Sunshine State Conference Championship.

The No. 2-ranked Buccaneers shot 287 in the final round at the 7,094-yard Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club course, beating No. 1 Nova Southeastern by a stroke for the league title in the nine-team field. It is Barry University's 49th SSC championship within the 12-sport athletic program's history.

Dalga tied for third with Lynn's Daniel Young at 4-under 212, putting together his third straight rock solid round for his best 54-hole score as a Buccaneer. Dalga, who sank a five-foot eagle putt on the par-5, 549-yard second hole, tied for second at a tournament earlier this year, albeit three strokes higher than he did in the SSC Championship.

Smyers finished fifth, a stroke behind Dalga, following a closing-round 1-under 71.

"The team's feeling great," Dalga said. "We're definitely going to build off what happened, and take this to regionals."

Barry will compete in the South/Southeast Super Regional May 6-8 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey in the Hills, Fla.

Dalga's eagle in the final round matched Smyers for a team-leading four this season. Smyers had one a day earlier on the same hole.

"That really got the round kickstarted," said Dalga, who knocked a 4-iron from 220 yards out into the wind within five feet of the cup on a green tucked over a bunker.

He birdied three other holes on the front nine to make the turn at 3-under.

"I was definitely feeling good," said Dalga, who had 14 birdies in the three-day championship event. "I loved the position I was in. I was jazzed up."

Smyers, who has six top-9 and three top-5 finishes this year, eagled the same hole in the second round to recover from a double bogey.  He hit driver, 6-iron to within 15 feet of the pin before sinking the eagle putt after switching to a new putter following the first round.

"The putter's a keeper," Smyers said.

In Tuesday's final round, he reeled off six birdies, giving him 12 for the tournament. His third-round 71 followed up his tournament-low 68 a day earlier.

"The game is getting better and better," Smyers said. "It's been a good year, pretty consistent."

Nova's Ricardo Celia won the tournament with a 7-under 209. Eckerd's Jeff Evanier was second, a stroke ahead of Dalga and Young.

Barry's Adam Svensson finished eighth after shooting 1-over 217. He birdied the 534-yard ninth Tuesday before parring out the rest of the way on the back nine. Svensson had nine birdies in the three-day event.

Marcus Segerstrom shot par in the final round, making three birdies to finish tied for 24th at 225. Simon Forsslund shot 75 to finish tied for 21st. He birdied two of the 500-plus-yard par-5 holes in the final round.

"To be able to contribute to the first championship tournament," Smyers began, "it feels really good."

Indeed it does.

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