NORTH MIAMI, Fla. (April 13, 2020) – April usually marks a time of the year when the Johnson & Wales (Fla.) men's golf team prepares for its run at the Sun Conference title.
With this year's championship, originally scheduled for April 26-28 in Savannah, Georgia, and the NAIA National Championships (May 19-22 in Mesa, Arizona), canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, JWU's bid for its fifth TSC crown (2010, 2015, 2016, 2017) and 20th-consecutive appearance in the NAIA National Tournament came to a screeching halt. Both the Sun Conference and the NAIA announced that all spring sports were canceled on March 16.
The men's golf team is arguably the most-successful program in JWU history, having never missed the NAIA National Championship Tournament and appearing in every NAIA Men's Golf Coaches' Top 25 Poll since the team's inception in the 2000-2001 season.
The program also garnered the school's first NAIA National Championship banner.
Fifteen years ago, the Wildcats claimed the 2005 NAIA National Championship (May 24-27), shooting a 19-under, four-day total of 1,133. That year's tournament, held at Prairie Highlands Golf Course (par 72, 7,066 yards) in Olathe, Kansas, featured a JWU program which had three NAIA All-Americans (Jim Renner, Adam Scrimenti, and John Stoltz) and was led by legendary coach Dave Adamonis, Sr. (the 2005 NAIA National Coach of the Year).
That year's squad – Renner (1st- 75-67-68-71, 281), Scrimenti (6th- 69-71-74-73, 287), Bill Maguire (tied for 7th- 71-73-72-72, 288), Luigi Cargiulo (11th- 72-71-67-79, 289), and Stoltz (tied for 15th- 69-77-71-76, 293) – spent the entire tournament atop the team leaderboard.
Entering Day Four, the 72-hole event was cut to the top 17 teams and 40 individuals after the completion of 54 holes. The Wildcats came into the final day of competition in first, carding an NAIA-record 841 (281-282-278) through 54 holes – a record which still stands today. The final day was difficult for the 17 teams remaining as no squad posted under a 291 for the round. JWU scored its highest mark of the tournament, recording a 292 (+4) in the final round, but had posted early rounds of 281, 282 and 278 to separate itself from the rest of the pack. The Wildcats expanded on a seven-under par first-round and was under by as many as 23 after the third round before pushing their lead to 28 strokes. Runner-up Oklahoma Christian University finished at nine-over par (1,161) for the tournament. Oklahoma City University failed to win a fifth-consecutive title, finishing third after shooting a nine-over par 297 on the final round for a four-day total of 1,162.
The individual medalist competition came down to the final day as Brent Akins of Oklahoma City and Kenny Adams of California State University-San Marcos were tied heading into the final round. Both shot scores of 66 in earlier rounds, but Akins carded a one-over par 73 while Adams recorded a three-over par 75 in the round to allow JWU's Renner the chance for victory. Renner shot a one-under par 71 for the final round for a four-round total of 281 and the individual championship as he finished at seven-under par for the tournament, one stroke better than Akins.
Renner would go onto be named the 2005 NAIA National Player of the Year (then called the Arnold Palmer Award).
In the 68-year history of the NAIA Men's Golf National Championship Tournament, JWU's 1,133 is the third-lowest, 72-hole total behind North Texas State (now North Texas) (1,123 – 1952) and Oklahoma City (1,127 – 2018).
The Wildcats, however, still hold the distinction for the most-dominant outing in the history of the national tournament (-19); six strokes better than North Texas State's 13-under result the Inaugural NAIA Men's Golf Championship at the Abilene Country Club (par 71) in 1952.
Follow men's golf (@JWUmgolfNM) and all of JWU's 11 athletic teams on Twitter (@JWUAthleticsNM), YouTube (JWUAthletics), and Instagram (the WildcatWay).
About JWU Athletics: JWU Athletics is home to more than 150 student-athletes in 11 different sports. Established in 1998, JWU Athletics is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Sun Conference. Athletic events are held the Wildcat Center and the Miami Shores Recreation Complex (9825 NE 7th Ave., Miami Shores, FL 33138)
About JWU: Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with approximately 13,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its four campuses in Providence, Rhode Island; North Miami, Florida; Denver, Colorado; and Charlotte, North Carolina. An innovative educational leader, the university offers degree programs in arts and sciences, business, culinary arts, design and engineering, education, health and wellness, hospitality, nutrition and physician assistant studies. Its unique model integrates arts and sciences and industry-focused education with work experience and leadership opportunities, inspiring students to achieve professional success and lifelong personal and intellectual growth. The university's impact is global, with alumni from 125 countries pursuing careers worldwide. For more information, visit jwu.edu.
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