Oct. 29, 2013
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. --- Georgia's Joey Garber earned medalist honors for the first time in his career on Tuesday at The Invitational at The Ocean Course.
The senior from Petoskey, Mich., posted a final-round 4-under 68 to finish at 9-under 207 and with a 3-shot cushion. On Monday, Garber signed for a tournament-record and career-best 6-under 66 on the strength of 10 birdies.
"The birdies came in bunches on Monday and then I just tried to keep the momentum going today," Garber said. "I was patient throughout the tournament, and that really paid off. I'm pretty proud of the way I played this week."
The victory capped what was a strong fall for Garber. He came in second in the Dick's Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup, fourth in the Carpet Capital Collegiate and 19th in the Brickyard Collegiate Championship. Garber finished the fall with a scoring average of 69.75.
Garber joined the Bulldogs in January of 2012 as a transfer from Michigan and had recorded two top-10s and five top-20s entering this season. In two years with the Wolverines, Garber had four top-10s and six top-20s.
"Joey is playing the way you expect a senior captain to play," said Georgia's Chris Haack, who now has coached 37 medalists. "He's been fairly consistent and he's put himself in contention that way. He is a guy who demands so much of himself. It was good to see him put it all together this week and get the win."
Garber's tournament-record 6-under 66 lasted just one day as Georgia sophomore Lee McCoy signed for a 7-under 65 on Tuesday. McCoy's loop, which included eight birdies and one bogey, also established his new career best, eclipsing the 5-under 67 in the Dick's Sporting Goods Collegiate Challenge Cup.
Behind McCoy, the No. 8 Bulldogs fired a tournament-record 5-under 283 on Tuesday. (Garber's totals did not count toward the team score as he was designated as an individual before the tournament began.) The previous single-round mark was 4-under 284 by Notre Dame in 2010.
Georgia wound up third at 12-over 876, just five shots behind South Florida (871).
The Bulldogs also counted a 1-under 71 from senior Michael Cromie, an even-par 72 from senior Keith Mitchell and a 3-over 75 from junior Nicholas Reach on Tuesday. Junior Sam Straka had the drop score of 5-over 77.
McCoy wound up fifth at 2-under 214, Cromie was 10th at 2-over 218 and Reach was 15th at 6-over 222. Mitchell missed a top-20 finish by one stroke at 8-over 224, while Straka came in at 23-over 239.
The Bulldogs had a first, a second, two thirds and a fourth this fall.
"It was definitely a good way to finish the fall," Haack said. "It would have been easy for our guys to pack it in since we were 12 shots out of first after the second round, but that's not the way we're made. Our guys think they can win every time we tee it up. To say we can't wait for the spring to get started would be an understatement."
The Bulldogs will begin the spring portion of the schedule Feb. 23-25 at the Puerto Rico Classic.