Men's Golf Wins NCAA Division II Championship

Men's Golf Wins NCAA Division II Championship
The Barry University men's golf team celebrates the NCAA Division II Championship in Allendale, Mich. on Friday, May 25, 2007. All photos by Adam Bird
ALLENDALE, Mich. – Hernan Borja (Sr., Coral Springs, Fla.) finished second out of 105 individuals with a four-round score of 291 (+7) to lead the Barry University men’s golf team to their first NCAA Division II national title in school history on Friday afternoon. The Buccaneers finished with a one-stroke lead over the 20-team field with a four-round score of 1186 (+50). The tournament was hosted by Grand Valley State at The Meadows par-71, 6,992 yard course.

“We are just very excited right now,” head coach Jimmy Stobs said. “It’s just a tremendous feeling to win a national title. We had a nice lead after the front nine, but we let it slip away on the back. It came down to the wire, but the guys managed to sink putts when they needed to and they came out on top.”

Hernan BorjaSixth-ranked Barry led the national tournament from the opening round on Tuesday and despite 13 bogeys on the back nine in the final round, the Buccaneers finished with a four-round score of 1186 (+50) claiming the school’s first-ever men’s title.

South Carolina-Upstate finished as the national runner-up with a four-round 1187 (+51) score, while Sunshine State Conference member #1 Florida Southern finished third at 1188 (+52). Third-ranked Columbus State (1189) finished fourth at +53, while Washburn (1196) rounded at the top five at +60.

After an opening round ace on the par-three, 202-yard hole 13, Borja paced the Buccaneers day after day and finished second overall after four rounds with a seven-over-par 291 score. It came down to his performance on the final hole for Barry to claim the national title. On the par four, 392-yard hole 18, Borja landed his second shot on the green for a 40-foot birdie attempt. On the first putt, he ran the ball six feet past the hole but managed to sink the six-foot par putt to help Barry claim the national championship.

“After we made the turn, I glanced at the leader board and saw we had started to falter a little bit,” Borja said. “Finally, on the final hole, Coach (Jimmy Stobs) came up to me and said we that were tied for the lead. Nick GillaspyThat final putt was on an uphill lie and I was shaking, but I just told myself that I needed to make this putt and managed to knock it in.”

Two players finished in the top ten individually for Barry. Senior Juan Weissenberg (Miami, Fla.) finished four strokes behind Borja with a four-round 295 (+11) score and tied for 10th overall after being one of the more consistent players with rounds of 74-73-74-74. Nick Gillaspy (right) (Sr., Spencer, Ind.) birdied the par four hole 16 on the back nine to finish the final round at two-over (73) and tied for 17th overall with a four-round score of 301 (+11).

Matt Jonah (So., East Longmeadow, Mass.) finished tied for 34th with a 302 (+18) four-round score, while freshman Carlos Velez finished tied for 86th overall with a four-round score of 316 (+32).

CelebrationThe Buccaneers post-season finish also brought national recognition to members of the team. Borja was named GCAA (Golf Coaches Association of America) First-Team All-American. Head coach Jimmy Stobs was tabbed GCAA National Coach of the Year.

"The coach of the year is simply a tremendous honor, and it was a shock to receive this prestigious award,” Stobs said. “However, today it was about the team winning the title. Everyone played a role in this one so it was a great team effort. As for Hernan, it is a well deserved honor to be named to the All-America team. All season he has been the team leader and it came down to him sinking that final putt for us to win the national title.”

The men's golf team secures Barry's seventh national championship in school history. Previously, Barry has claimed national titles in women's soccer (three - 1989, 1992, 1993) and volleyball (three - 1995, 2001, 2004).