The Tar Heel men’s golf team won its first tournament title of the 2023-24 season without hitting a shot on Sunday as rain and stormy weather forced cancellation of the third and final round of the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational.
No. 1-ranked Carolina held the 36-hole lead by six strokes over Texas after Saturday’s second round. The Tar Heels shot 1 over par on Friday, but rebounded yesterday with an 11-under-par 269, which set the 18-hole tournament record (previous was 270 in last year by Stanford).
UNC’s 36-hole total of 550 also broke the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational’s 36-hole record of 551 set by Oklahoma State in 2018 and Stanford in 2022. The 2018 Oklahoma State lineup included Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff and Austin Eckroat.
Maxwell Ford, playing in his first tournament for UNC after two seasons at Georgia, shot 67-65 for an 8-under 132 to place second, one shot behind Georgia Tech’s Cristo Lamprecht. Ford’s second-place finish was the best in a player’s first start for the Tar Heels since Peter Fountain was second in the 2020 Camp Creek Invitational. Ford led the 81-player field this weekend on the par 5s at 5 under par.
As a team, UNC was 10 under par on the par 5s, three strokes better than any other team.
Dylan Menante tied for 13th at 1-under 139 (70-69), David Ford tied for 21st at 1-over 141 (73-68) and Austin Greaser (75-67) and Kenan Poole (71-71) tied for 26th at 2-over 142.
The title is Carolina’s 16th in Andrew DiBitteto’s seven season as head coach and the second time UNC has won at Olympia Fields at the Country Club’s North Course. UNC becomes the fourth program with multiple titles at Olympia Fields, joining the tournament host Illinois (3), Oklahoma State (2) and Stanford (2).
The 2023 Olympia Fields title is Greaser’s 13th team victory as a Tar Heel. David Ford has been part of nine titles, Menante six, and it was Maxwell Ford’s and Poole’s first titles in the UNC lineup. Maxwell Ford helped win two titles while playing at Georgia.
Carolina returns to action October 2-3 when it looks to defend its team championship at the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational. This year’s Hogan is being played at the Shady Oaks Country Club in Westworth Village, Texas.