HERSHEY, Pa. – It can’t get any sweeter for Barry University men’s golf.
Barry defeated Lynn by four strokes to break a 2-2-1 tiebreaker in the NCAA Division II National Championship match Friday at the par-71, 6,984-yard Hershey Country Club course. It marks the Buccaneers’ second national title in the program’s history.
It is the school’s second national championship in two weeks, and 11th in the university’s 29-year athletic history.
“I told my team to save every shot,” Barry 11-year coach Jimmy Stobs said. “’It’s a one-hole tournament, make par.’”
That’s what Barry senior Marcus Segerstrom did on the 456-yard 18th hole to tie Lynn’s Jose Andres Miranda. Both shot 78. Segerstrom birdied the 356-yard No. 5 hole to take a one-stroke lead. But despite falling two strokes behind after the 12th hole, Segerstrom made par on Nos. 14 and 16, while Miranda bogeyed both to draw even.
Bucs junior Scott Smyers dropped his match to Daniel Young by four strokes. Smyers shot 84 in the frigid, windy conditions, while Young settled for an 80. That gave the Fighting Knights a 1-0-1 lead.
Barry senior Simon Forsslund, who bought his time, waiting the majority of the season to compete, delivered in a big way. Forsslund defeated Ernesto Vitienes by eight strokes to even the match at 1-1-1. Forsslund birdied the 414-yard, par-4 12th on his way to a 79. Vitienes shot 87.
“Simon played great,” Stobs said. “For Simon to shoot that … that’s one of the reasons he was in the lineup because I knew he was tough. He proved me to be correct.”
Bucs junior transfer Jared Dalga fell by two strokes to Filip Timmerman, giving Lynn a 2-1-1 lead. Dalga shot 83, and Timmerman 81.
It all came down to the final match, featuring National Freshman of the Year Adam Svensson of Barry and Lynn’s Roberto Francioni. Svensson birdied the fifth to take a one-stroke lead. But after dropping a stroke on both 11 and 12, the Buccaneer rookie fell behind by one stroke. Svensson made par on the 467-yard, par-4 15th to knot the match.
“He asked me on 16, ‘How do we stand?’” Stobs said. “I said, ‘It’s a three-hole tournament. We have to win this match.”
Both Svensson and Francioni bogeyed 16, but the Bucs’ freshman made par on 17 to take a one-stroke lead.
“On 18, he asked me where we stand,” Stobs said. “I said, ‘Just execute your shot. Don’t worry about where we stand. I wouldn’t be standing here if we didn’t have a chance.’”
Svensson hit a 190-yard approach shot over the chocolate-like water to within 20 feet of the flag, while Francioni came up short of the 18th green. Svensson two-putted for par, and Francioni bogeyed to give the title to the Buccaneers.
“It’s amazing that we all pulled through,” Svensson said after his 4-over 75 final round. “It’s like a high. I couldn’t have asked for anything more as a freshman at Barry.”
Forsslund couldn’t have scripted it any better, himself.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything else to end my college career,” Forsslund said. “It feels great. This is what you work so hard for. It’s been a fun ride being in college. I can’t see it ending any better than this.”