DELAWARE, Ohio -- For the first time in the school's history, Averett will wear a national crown.
The Averett golf team came from nine shots back to claim a five-shot victory in the NCAA Division III National Golf Championship played at Dornoch Golf Club over third-round leader Wesley College. The Cougars fired a 1-over-par 285, while the Wolverines countered with a 299, giving Averett the national title.
No Cougar shot over 73, while Jeff Johnston paced Averett with a 1-under-par 70 in the final round. Craig Hosie followed with a 71, while Janne Mommo and Toni Karjalainen each carded 72s. Bret Efird posted a 73 for the Cougars on the par 71 track.
'Craig, Jeff, and Bret's rounds today were the key to our victory,' said Averett head coach Jim Gourlay. 'I knew Janne and Toni would do their thing and they did. The rest of the guys stepped it up, and today we are national champions.'
Mommo, a three-time All-American, capped off his senior season in style. He is not only a member of the championship team, but he was also the national individual champion with a 3-under-par 281 total.
Mommo followed an opening round 75 with a NCAA Division III Tournament record 65 to claim the second round lead. He added a 69 in the third round of the tournament taking a three-stroke lead over Nathan Proshek of Saint John's (MN) into the final round. Mommo's final round of 72 gave him the three-stroke victory over Proshek.
'What can I say? It feels great,' said Mommo on his individual and team title. 'It is a big relief. What a great way to end your college golf career, with team and individual national championships.'
Karjalainen ended the four-day event with a 288 (71-73-72-72) and sole possession of third place. Johnston finished the tournament with a four-day 305 (78-77-80-70) total, but his strong final round finish helped propel Averett past Wesley.
Hosie and Efird both finished the four round event at 306. Hosie carded rounds of 79, 76, 80, and 71. Efird improved with each round, as he shot an 81 to open the tournament, a 77 in round two, and a 75 in the third round, before closing with a 2-over-par 73 in the finale.
This was Averett's third consecutive trip to the national tournament. The Cougars finished ninth in 2001, and 12th in 2002.