y Rory Sharrock
As the host institution of the inaugural State Farm-Laker Collegiate Classic, the pressure was high for Clayton State University to succeed as it set out the welcome mat for some of the best Division II golfers in the nation.
The 12th-ranked Lakers withstood a highly-competitive field, including the No. 1-ranked squad in the country, the University of West Florida, who won the event with a three-day total of 864, and a challenging course to finish tied for third place with Georgia College & State University, firing a two-day score of 871 (+7) at Crystal Lake Golf & Country Club in Hampton.
"We played better today (Tuesday). We shot 290, so we were pretty close. It's a good start. We just have to keep working," said Clayton State golf coach Barry Harwell. "This is a nice tournament. Crystal Lake is a sweet place. We're lucky to be able to come out here to practice and play. We wouldn't have been able to do it without Crystal Lake and State Farm. Hopefully we'll be able to keep it going."
Clayton State was led by freshman sensation Jordan Massey of Panama City, Fla., who was named to the All-Tournament Team. Massey finished at -1 with a three-round score of 71-74-70-215, which put him in a three-way tie for fifth place.
"Everything worked out well. The course is excellent. It's one of the best courses I've ever played. It was a very tough field and this is a good start to the season," Massey said.
Along with Massey, junior Wade Binfield of Fayetteville was the Lakers' other top-10 competitor, placing tied for eighth. Binfield shot even par throughout his three rounds, shooting 73-70-73-216.
Two other players from Clayton State rounded out the top-20, including senior Jonathan Visconti of Alpharetta, who shot one-over-par at 74-71-73-218 and sophomore Kevin Duncan of Ellon, Scotland, who carded a three-over-par with scores of 66-74-79-219.
Along with the picturesque backdrop at Crystal Lake Golf & Country Club, there was an international appeal on the fairways and greens at the State Farm-Laker Collegiate Classic.
Including the United States, 10 different countries were represented from the 14 schools invited to this week's event. Among the various nations on display were Italy, South Africa, Canada, Argentina, Sweden, England, Ireland, Scotland and Brazil.
The State Farm-Laker Collegiate Classic played to a par-72 and stretched out to 7,202 yards from the black tees.
"Coach Barry (Hartwell) and I talked about it being the home course for the team. It's a good opportunity to show off the golf course, but most of all, it's a great tournament," said general manager, director of golf and PGA member professional Craig Martin. "There's six top teams in the country here. The kids are good and it showcases Clayton State. You need to give something back to the community. Henry County, Clayton County and the surrounding communities should be proud. We're just glad to host it."