HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Junior Chad Ebert (Kenosha, Wis.) fired an even-par 72 on Sunday afternoon at Mission Inn Resort, tallying three birdies in the process to win individual medalist honors at the 2012 Horizon League Men's Golf Championships. Ebert carded pars on the final four holes to finish the 54-hole tournament at 6-over par and two strokes clear of a three-way tie for second which included teammate Cam Fuller (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.).
Ebert's win was the All-Horizon League performer's first collegiate victory and earns him an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals. He becomes the first Phoenix golfer to win the Horizon League championship since Shaun Rezachek in 2001 and the second all-time. Rezachek was also the individual medalist in 1998.
"I am extremely excited. I hit the ball well all day without doing anything special," Ebert said. "I made three birdies including 18 which was probably my hardest hole on the golf course. I played really well all day and it felt good to close out a round. It was also my first win so it felt really good to get the first win on a big stage."
The play of Ebert and Fuller had Green Bay in contention for the team title all weekend, but in the end the Phoenix finished the championship in the same place they started the round Sunday, two shots behind Loyola. Green Bay and Loyola each shot rounds of 16-over 304 Sunday, leaving the Ramblers at 45-over 909 and the Phoenix at 47-over 911.
The finish was Green Bay's fourth runner-up finish at the Horizon League Championships, including the second time in the past three seasons (2010).
"I hit a couple of bad shots but I didn't let it get to me because I had the team in my mind," Ebert said. "Our goal was to win as a team not for anyone to win as an individual."
Ebert entered the day in second place and three strokes off the lead, but after a birdie on the 18th hole, his ninth of the day after each player in the field started the round on 10, the junior was in the lead heading to the final nine holes. Ebert followed with a birdie at the first, but Fuller eagled the same hole to sit just one stroke behind his teammate with eight holes to play.
The fifth hole got the best of both players, with an Ebert double bogey and a Fuller bogey putting them in a tie. Ebert, playing one group ahead of Fuller, carded pars the rest of the way while Fuller dropped a couple of shots.
Focused more on the team score, Ebert was unaware of where he stood on the leaderboard during the final few holes. After playing the seventh at 4-over in the first two rounds, Ebert parred the hole before recording two-putt pars from 60 and 15 feet, respectively, on eight and nine.
"I didn't know anything about the scores and that was nice in a sense," Ebert. "The eighth hole was very intimidating over water and into the wind. The most satisfying thing was parring the seventh hole because I had bogeyed it and tripled it, so it was nice to get some redemption on that hole."
Fuller birdied his first two holes on Sunday before a string of four bogeys in a row dropped him to 2-over. He then birdied his next hole before recording his first par of the round at 17. He finished the day with an 2-over par 74 which included three birdies and the eagle at 10. His three-day total of 8-over par 224 left him tied for second.
Sophomores Dan Ozga (Edgerton, Wis.) and Sam Weber (Heartland, Wis.) each had 79s on Sunday and Ozga finished 20th (232, +16) while Weber tied for 22nd (234, +18). Freshman Tyler Schmidt (Jefferson, Wis.) rounded out the Phoenix golfers in a tie for 36th (241, +25).
2012 Horizon League
1. Loyola, 314-291-304=909 (+45)
2. Green Bay, 301-306-304=911 (+47)
3. Cleveland State, 304-308-303=915 (+51)
4. Detroit, 303-307-308=918 (+54)
5. Wright State, 318-307-299=924 (+60)
6. Butler, 315-303-309=927 (+63)
7. Valparaiso, 304-310-314=928 (+64)
8. Youngstown State, 315-314-300=929 (+65)
Green Bay Men - Individual Scores
1. Chad Ebert, 74-76-72=222 (+6)
T2. Cam Fuller, 74-76-74=224 (+8)
20. Dan Ozga, 77-76-79=232 (+16)
T19. Sam Weber, 76-79-79=234 (+18)
T30. Tyler Schmidt, 81-78-82=241 (+25)
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