The NCAA golf championships are under way in Stillwater, Okla., and while most of the local talk about this event has been focused on the Augusta State University golf team, there's another player in the field that folks in Columbia County can root for - Cortland Lowe.
The former Augusta Preparatory Day School star is a senior at Wake Forest University, and he's part of the Demon Deacons squad that is shooting for a national title, which would be the fourth in the college's history.
Wake Forest is ranked no worse than fourth in the three major golf polls, and the Deacons have made a resurgence this season thanks to a senior-laden team.
During the 1970s and '80s, Wake Forest was one of the premier college golf programs in the country. The Deacons went through some down years, but they're climbing back up.
This season the team has been led by Bill Haas (son of PGA veteran Jay Haas and brother of Augusta State's Jay Haas Jr.). Bill is one of the nation's elite amateurs, but he has a tremendous supporting cast behind him at Wake, including Lowe.
Through their college careers, Lowe and his three senior teammates have boosted the Deacons to eight tournament titles, 19 top-five finishes in events, four straight NCAA regionals, and three of the past four NCAA tournaments.
Lowe has been a big part of the success. The Wake Forest coaching staff is quick to point out that the Augusta Prep product is easily one of the Deacon's most improved players over the past four seasons.
This spring Lowe has lowered his stroke average to 73.7. Now, with the NCAA's being played at Karsten Creek Golf Club, Lowe should be very excited - he led Wake Forest with a 13th place finish at the Ping-Golfweek Preview tournament held earlier this season at Karsten Creek.
But Lowe's not the only player with Columbia County ties teeing it up this week at Karsten Creek.
Former Lakeside High School standout Jay Mundy, an All-SEC performer with Auburn, also is competing in the NCAA championship. The Tigers are ranked 12th in the nation, and placed 10th at the East Regionals last week to earn a spot in the field at the NCAAs.
In 1999, Mundy led Lakeside to a Class AAA state title and also brought home state medalist honors. At the regionals, Mundy shot 75-72-71-218 to tie for 32nd in the individual standings and help the Tigers advance to Stillwater.
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