CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia men’s golf team built up as much as a six-stroke advantage during the final round of the inaugural Lewis Chitengwa Memorial and then held off Tennessee by a single stroke to claim the team title. The event was held at UVA’s Birdwood Golf Course.
“It was a lot of fun to host and this was what we needed at this point of our season,” said Virginia head coach Bowen Sargent. “The ability to come out and win at home hopefully will serve as a springboard going into the ACCs next week and the postseason. I hope our team’s confidence will grow from this and they’ll continue to get better.”
The Cavaliers shot 4-under 280 during Tuesday’s final round for a 54-hole total of 15-under 837. No. 20 Tennessee was second at 838 while No. 39 North Florida was third at 841 and No. 26 Charlotte was fourth at 842.
Virginia, which also fielded a B-Team, had five players among the top 14 finishers. Sophomore George Duangmanee led that group by tying for third at 7-under 206. He had rounds of 67, 68 and 71 on the par-71 setup. It was the best tournament finish for Duangmanee as a collegiate player and his low 54-hole score. His first-round 67 matched his low 18-hole outing as a Cavalier.
Junior Pietro Bovari and sophomore Chris Fosdick tied for sixth place at 4-under 209. Rounding out the scoring for the Cavaliers was Devel Patel, who was 25th at even par 213 and Grayson Wotnosky, who placed 71st at 227. Bovari’s finish was the seventh top-10 outing of his career and the fifth of the season. Fosdick’s 209 equaled his best tournament score at UVA.
“George had a great week for us,” Sargent said. “Chris also played really well and Pietro shot 68 today in the final round and that was critical in our win. Top to bottom, everyone really played solid and we needed that. Coming into this tournament, we were really on the bubble for regionals and we needed a win and we got it.”
Seniors Sam Jung and Jimmie Massie led the B-Team’s effort. Jung was ninth at 210 while Massie was one shot behind him in 14th place. Senior Jack Montague placed 25th at 213, Jaron Leasure was 65th at 224 and Liam Powderly was 73rd at 228. The UVA B-Team placed ninth overall with a team score of 6-over 858.
Jung’s three-round total matched his best collegiate tournament score and Montague’s 213 was a career best as well as his second-round score of 66.
The tournament was named for former UVA standout Lewis Chitengwa. He was a two-time All-American at Virginia (1995, 1996) and earned All-ACC honors in 1995 when he was named the league’s rookie of the year. He finished seventh at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
Chitengwa turned professional in 1998 and played on the Tear Drop, Buy.com and Canadian Tours in addition to competing at the PGA’s St. Jude Memphis Classic. At the age of 26, he passed away as a result of meningitis. At the time, he was competing in the Canadian Tour’s Edmonton Open. In 2015, he was recognized posthumously for his immense contribution to golf by being inducted into Mercedes-Benz Southern African Golf Hall of Fame.
Tennessee head coach Brennan Webb, was Chitengwa’s tour roommate when he passed away. He embraced his senior, Spencer Cross, after he walked off the 18th green as the tournament medalist. Cross won with a score of 12-under 201, four shots ahead of runner-up Robbie Higgins of North Florida.
Webb told the UVA coaches afterwards, “This is exactly how this tournament should have ended.”
Virginia will compete at the ACC Championships April 22-25 at Shark’s Tooth Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla.
Lewis Chitengwa Memorial
Birdwood Golf Course
Par 71, 7,116 yards
1. Virginia 279-278-280-837
2. Tennessee 278-278-282-838
3. North Florida 277-282-282-841
4. Charlotte 277-281-284-842
5. Kentucky 284-278-282-844
6. Liberty 285-279-282-846
7. Virginia Tech 286-284-281-851
8. Coastal Carolina 282-292-278-852
9. Virginia-B 289-278-291-858
10. Maryland 287-286-293-866
11. St. Mary’s 286-287-294-867
12. East Carolina 284-287-299-870
13. Texas State 290-289-292-871
14. Loyola (Md.) 286-301-297-884
1. Spencer Cross, Tennessee 68-66-67-201
2. Robbie Higgins, North Florida 69-67-69-205
3. George Duangmanee, Virginia 67-68-71-206
3. Kiernan Vincent, Liberty 72-64-70-206
3. George Duangmanee 67-68-71-206
6. Pietro Bovari 70-71-68-209
6. Chris Fosdick 70-70-69-209
25. Deven Patel 72-69-72-213
71. Grayson Wotnosky 72-78-77-227
9. Sam Jung 69-69-72-210
14. Jimmie Massie 72-69-70-211
25. Jack Montague 72-66-75-213
65. Jaron Leasure 76-74-74-224
73. Liam Powderly 76-77-75-228