TUCKER, Ga. – Miles College won its first-ever Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Men’s Golf Championship title, Wednesday afternoon at Heritage Golf Links in Tucker, Ga.
The Golden Bears led the entire duration of the three-day event and finished with a total team score of 962. Benedict, the 2015 SIAC men’s golf champions fell by 21 strokes and finished second (983). Kentucky State (1035) placed third and came from behind to edge Morehouse (1043) who was fourth. Paine (1056) and LeMoyne-Owen (1139) were fifth and sixth respectively.
“We started the program at Miles three years ago,” said Miles head coach Leonard Smoot who was named the 2016 SIAC Men’s Golf All-Tournament Coach. “It was just a mere thought of having a team at Miles but as the team progressed, particularly this year, I told them that through hard work that they could win a conference championship. I saw their determination and work ethic. I knew they had a great chance. Now that we are champs, it’s a blessing. It shows that something good comes out of hard work. As long as you work hard you can accomplish your goals.” [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B018WVVGJC” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
After finishing with the tournament with scores of 235, Benedict’s Rajai Cousley and Cameron Wilhite of Miles went head-to-head in a spirited one-hole playoff round to determine the tournament Most Valuable Player. Cousley won by a stroke and was named the 2016 SIAC Men’s Golf MVP.
The all-tournament team consisted of Cousley, Wilhite (235), Tommy Swearingen of Morehouse (239), Jacob McCurray of Miles (240), and Josh Lewis of Miles (245).
Miles shot 326 in round one to take the lead following the opening day of the tournament. The Golden Bears remained in front in round two (326) but Benedict tried to close the gap by shooting 313 in the final round.
“I told my team that we couldn’t get behind on the first day,” Smoot explained. “I think that was the secret. We got out front. We stayed consistent and didn’t make big errors. That allowed us to maintain our momentum.”
The Golden Bears will represent the SIAC in the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf South Regional Championship scheduled for May 2-4. Miles will also compete in the PGA Minority Intercollegiate Golf Championship in May.
“Our first priority is to get back in the classroom,” said Smoot about the Golden Bears’ upcoming schedule. “My guys have great GPAs and I expect them to do the same kind of work in the classroom as they did out here on the golf course. Hopefully we can stand out and win our remaining tournaments. Our long-term goal is to continue to strive to be the best representatives of our conference and institution. If we do that, good things will continue to happen.”