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No. 10 men’s golf opens spring season with two top-five finishes

The No. 10 Virginia men’s golf team played the first two events of its spring schedule last week. The Cavaliers first took second place at the Palmetto Intercollegiate in Aiken, S.C., before finishing fourth at the Schenkel Invitational Sunday in Statesboro, Ga.

Virginia kicked off its road trip March 10, playing two rounds and ending the day in second place, six strokes behind No. 22 Clemson. Freshman Derek Bard was the low man for the Cavaliers, shooting a 1-over 141 Monday to tie for second place and trail Clemson freshman Austin Langdale by three strokes.

Though Bard and the Cavaliers closed the gap on the Tigers Tuesday, they ultimately finished two strokes behind Clemson’s 854 total to take second in the 18-team field. Bard shot an even-par 70 in the final round, finishing second by one stroke behind Langdale’s 54-hole 210 total.

No. 15 junior Denny McCarthy jumped from 20th to place fourth behind a strong 3-under 67 round Tuesday, while senior Ben Rusch finished 14th with a 217 total, shooting 1-under 69 in the final round.

The Cavaliers then traveled to the 15-team Schenkel Invitational March 14. The team opened the tournament in third place before falling to eighth after Saturday. However, Virginia would rebound Sunday to finish fourth with a 4-over 868.

Freshman Jimmy Stanger led Virginia with a third-place finish. Stanger shot a 5-under 67 Saturday and a career-best three-day total of 4-under 212, three strokes behind Georgia Southern junior and tournament-winner Scott Wolfes’ 7-under 209. McCarthy opened the tournament in eighth with a 2-under 70, but finished the weekend in 20th-place with a 1-over 217.

No. 51 Georgia Southern won the tournament, placing three golfers in the top-five and shooting a three-day total of 14-under 850 — eight strokes ahead of second-place No. 14 Alabama-Birmingham.

Virginia will take the course again March 23-25 in Charleston, S.C. to participate in the Hootie Bull Bay Tournament.