Campbell, Svensson win Big South titles in record-setting performance

2017 Big South Champions (from left) Assistant Coach Matt Moot, Ray Kraivixien, Jesper Svensson, Craig Hornberger, Brett McLamb, Thomas La Morte, Head Coach John Crooks
2017 Big South Champions (from left) Assistant Coach Matt Moot, Ray Kraivixien, Jesper Svensson, Craig Hornberger, Brett McLamb, Thomas La Morte, Head Coach John Crooks

NINETY SIX, S.C. – Jesper Svensson broke Dustin Johnson's Big South Championship individual record and Campbell shattered the conference tournament team mark to claim titles Saturday at The Patriot Golf Club at Grand Harbor.

Campbell (273-277-288—838) led wire-to-wire to claim its first conference team title since winning the 2009 Atlantic Sun Championship and earn the Big South's automatic berth in the NCAA Regionals, May 15-17.  CU's 26-under-par 838 total shattered the previous league record of 844 set by Liberty in 2012.

A sophomore from Balsta, Sweden, Svensson finished the 54-hole event at 14-under-par (67-66-69—202), two shots better than Johnson's 12-under finish in 2007.  He was voted Big South player of the year in a poll of league head coaches while also earning first-team all-conference and all-championship team recognition.

Junior Thomas La Morte finished in a tie for individual runner-up honors (67-69-72—208) with Liberty's Kieran Vincent (72-71-65—208).  Campbell freshman Brett McLamb tied for 11th (69-74-73—216), sophomore Ray Kraivixien tied for 16th (70-71-77—218) and senior Craig Hornberger tied for 20th (74-71-74—219).

Three days after earning Big South women's coach of the year honors following a record-setting win on the same course, Crooks was presented the conference men's coach of the year trophy.

After finishing as runner-up the last two seasons, Campbell claimed its third tournament crown of the year by seven strokes over second-place Liberty (276-285-824—845).  With thunderstorms predicted for Sunday, the teams played 36 holes Saturday.

The Camels led the field with 70 birdies, 16 more than both Gardner-Webb and Liberty, and played the par-five holes on the par-72, 7120-yard Davis Love III layout at 30-under, 8 shots better than Liberty.

Campbell followed Friday's Big South record-tying 273 round with a 277 on Saturday morning to match the school 36-hole team record (550).  CU's 838 mark tied for third-lowest in the program's history and its best-ever in conference tournament action.  Svensson's 202 is the second-lowest 54-hole individual mark in Campbell golf records, one shy of the 201 recorded by Simon Dunn in 2001 and matched by Kyle Spahr (2006) and Hornberger (2015).

"When you're breaking records, what you're thinking about is how you're competing and where you stand, what's the next obstacle on the horizon. The good news is we handled whatever we were dealt," said Coach Crooks. "The men played together, good fundamental golf. Jesper went a little above and beyond. At one point he was 16-under-par. It was a tremendous performance." 

Svensson easily led the 45-golfer field with 22 birdies and in par-five scoring (-9), while tying for the lead on the par-three holes (-2) and playing the par-four layouts at 3-under.

A junior from Demarest, N.J., La Morte matched his best collegiate finish by tying for the lead in par-four scoring (-4) and making 16 birdies, second only to Svensson.

Competing in his first conference championship, McLamb finished at even-par 216 and tied for fifth in the field with 13 birdies.  Kraivixien notched his fifth top-20 showing of the season, while Hornberger claimed his fourth.

Svensson and Kraivixien were named to the Big South all-conference team in voting by league head coaches. McLamb was joined on the all-freshman team by teammate Max Theodorakis. Kraivixien also earned all-academic team honors.

2017 Big South Conference Men's Golf Championship
Ninety Six, S.C. / The Patriot GC
Apr. 21-22, 2017 / Par 72, 7120 Yards

Final Team Results: 1. Campbell 273-277-288—838, 2. Liberty 276-285-284—845, 3. Gardner-Webb 282-285-292—859, 4. Charleston Southern 289-286-289—864, 5. Winthrop 293-280-309—882, 6. Longwood 294-294-297—885, 7. Radford 295-292-303-890, 8. High Point 292-299-308—899, 9. Presbyterian 297-299-310—906. 

Final Individual Leaders (Top 5 All-Championship Team): 1. Jesper Svensson (Campbell) 67-66-69—202, T2. Thomas La Morte (Campbell) 67-69-72—208, T2. Kieran Vincent (Liberty) 72-71-65—208, T4. Myles Creighton (Radford) 70-70-70—210, T4. Mickey DeMorat (Liberty) 68-71-71—210.

Other Campbell Individuals: T11. Brett McLamb 69-74-73—216, T16. Ray Kraivixien 70-71-77—218, T20. Craig Hornberger 74-71-74—219.

2017 Big South Conference Men's Golf Award Winners
All-Conference Team                                                   
Jesper Svensson, Soph., Campbell
Mickey DeMorat, Jr., Liberty
Isaiah Logue, Jr., Liberty
Kieran Vincent, Fr., Liberty
Myles Creighton, Jr., Radford
Gabe Lench, Soph., Liberty
Vincent Blanchette, Sr., Gardner-Webb
Aaron Thomas, Jr., Gardner-Webb
Ray Kraivixien, Soph., Campbell
Chris Jones, R-Sr., Gardner-Webb

All-Freshman Team
Kieran Vincent, Fr., Liberty
Brett McLamb, Fr., Campbell
Brendan MacDougall, Fr., High Point
Max Theodorakis, Fr., Campbell
Steffen Smith, Fr. Gardner-Webb

All-Academic Team
Ray Kraivixien, Soph., Campbell
Jake Ezell, Jr., Charleston Southern
Vincent Blanchette, Sr., Gardner-Webb
Emile Menard, Jr., High Point
Mickey DeMorat, Jr., Liberty
Jordan Boulton, Soph., Longwood
Hayden Ploeger, Sr., Presbyterian
Myles Creighton, Jr., Radford
Bradley Kauffman, Sr., Winthrop

Golfer of the Year
Jesper Svensson, Soph., Campbell 

Freshman of the Year
Kieran Vincent, Fr., Liberty 

Coach of the Year
John Crooks, Campbell 

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Myles Creighton, Jr., Radford

All-Championship Team
Jesper Svensson, Campbell
Kieran Vincent, Liberty
Thomas La Morte, Campbell
Myles Creighton, Radford
Mickey DeMorat, Liberty