Rochester Holds on to Win Individual Medal at Auburn; Tigers Finish Second
April 10, 2005
Auburn, Ala. - Freshman Ian Rochester became the fourth different Memphis golfer to win an individual medal this year as he held off a furious charge by Auburn senior All-American Lee Williams on Sunday and won the tournament by one stroke. As a team, the Tigers did not have one of their better days as they shot 12-over 300 but held their second round position and finished second to Auburn at the 12-team Billy Hitchcock Intercollegiate.
Rochester, a native of Cordova and graduate of Cordova High School, posted his worst score of the tournament with a two-over 74 to finish at five-under par 211 (65-72-74). However, it was just enough to hold off a late-charging Williams, who shot what was tied for the low individual round of the day with a four-under 68 to finish the tournament at four-under 212 (69-75-68). Rochester got off to a rough start in his round and was four-over par for the round after five holes. However, he played well the rest of the round, which included birdies on #15 and #16. Playing in the final pairing of the day with Williams, he watched as the Auburn senior birdied the final hole, which forced Rochester to have to make a four-foot putt for bogey to avoid a playoff, which he made. Rochester and Williams were the only players to finish under par for the tournament, as the next closest individuals were at even par.
For the tournament, Rochester averaged below par on both par 4's and par 5's and averaged even par on par 3's. He also led the field with 17 birdies, four more than the golfer with the second most.
"I feel great especially with the team finishing second," said Rochester. "I didn't hit my driver very well on the front but my short game was really solid and that was what kept me in it today. It was awesome (playing with an All-American in Williams). The back nine was really challenging. I felt the pressure right away and it seemed like he made every putt. But I settled down and kept my composure and was able to knock down the four-footer at the end."
"Ian got off to a bad start but got his composure back down the stretch," said Memphis coach Grant Robbins. "He was really solid the rest of the day."
Elsewhere for the Tigers, Keven Fortin-Simard turned his worst round of tournament as well with a seven-over 79 but had his best finish since the Rice Intercollegiate back in February as he finished at five-over 221 (72-70-79) and in a tie for 12th. Justin Miers shot the best Memphis round of the day with a one-under 71 and climbed the leaderboard all the way to a tie for 18th at seven-over 223 (80-72-71), improving his score in each round of the tournament. Robbie Greenwell equaled his second round score with a four-over 76 and finished in a tie for 47th at 18-over 234 (82-76-76). Andy Shiels finished the tournament tied for 57th at 22-over 238 (78-81-79).
Auburn fired the low team round of the tournament with a nine-under 279 to finish at three-under 861 (283-299--279), 24 strokes ahead of Memphis, which ended at 21-over 885 (295-290--300). The Tigers finished five strokes ahead of third place Charlotte, seven ahead of four-place Ole Miss and eight in front of fifth place UAB.
"This was a tough challenge playing a top 10 team on its home course," said Robbins. "Almost every team put up high score today except for Auburn. We knew they weren't going to play like they did yesterday two days in a row. However, we are pleased with the second place finish. It should help us tremendously as we head into our Conference championship and it was a good bounce back after last week."
Memphis will head to the Conference USA Championship next week in Gulfport, Miss. The tournament will be held at the Grand Bear April 18-20.