The Nova Southeastern men’s team took over the No. 1 spot in the national Division II golf rankings at midseason, and on Friday the Sharks proved they deserved that status.
Nova defeated fellow South Florida school Lynn University of Boca Raton 3-2 at Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, North Carolina, to win the national championship.
“It was obviously an unbelievable day overall,” Nova coach Ryan Jamison said. “It didn’t lack excitement, that’s for sure. All the matches were tough.”
Nova started strong, as freshmen Ethan Marcus and Priyanshu Singh won their matches to vault the Sharks to a 2-0 lead. Lynn came back, with Mateo Gomez topping Oscar Lengden.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
That set up what Jamison called the “deciding point,” as Santiago Gomez of Nova defeated Jose Andres Miranda with a tap-in par on the 18th hole. That gave Nova Southeastern an insurmountable 3-1 match advantage, and the fifth match became inconsequential with Lynn’s Elliott Whitley defeating Richard Mansell.
Of the deciding fourth match, Jamison said: “It was hard-fought, and I remember thinking in the fairway that this is the one kid [Gomez] I would want in that situation, needing a birdie or par to win.”
Then Jamison spread out the credit, saying: “Everybody had their moments at different times, and they all stepped up to help us win. That goes for the five guys at home — everybody has played a part. I’m super excited to come back to Fort Lauderdale with the trophy.”
A repeat by Nova next season appears a possibility with four of Friday’s five starters — Mansell, Gomez, Singh and Marcus — likely to return. Lengden is a graduating senior.
The national championship was Nova’s second in golf, with the Sharks also winning in 2012. Barry won back-to-back national titles in 2013 and 2014, but did not advance out of regionals this year.
Lynn has had to settle with runner-up finishes in two of the past three national championships.
▪ Match scores: Match 1: Ethan Marcus (Nova Southeastern) d. Keith Greene, 73-75; Match 2: Priyanshu Singh (Nova Southeastern) d. Martin Cancino, 78-81; Match 3: Mateo Gomez (Lynn) d. Oscar Lengden, 69-75; Match 4: Santiago Gomez (Nova Southeastern) d. Jose Andres Miranda, 73-74; Match 5: Elliott Whitley (Lynn) d. Richard Mansell, 69-76.