Emory men and women make it a sweep at Golfweek DIII Fall Invitational at Sandestin

While the women mounted a comeback on Centre College, the men won wire to wire.

Emory men and women make it a sweep at Golfweek DIII Fall Invitational at Sandestin

Emory head coach Katie Futcher keeps an important statistic for her team throughout the season. The bounce-back column is all about what a player does after she makes a bogey.

At the Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational, Emory pulled off the ultimate bounce-back, coming from two shots behind Centre College entering the final round to win the tournament, its second in four starts this fall.

“Fighting, always finishing to the end, we always try to preach that with all of our ladies in our program,” Futcher said of the importance of that stat. “To finish today with a win after coming in trailing is good.”

Emory’s round of 8-over 296 was its best round of the week at Baytowne Golf Club in Destin, Florida. At 35 over, Emory was two better than Centre College for 54 holes. Emory freshman Sharun Mun won the individual title at 3 over.

It’s the midway point of the semester for many teams, Emory included. Futcher’s players were coming off midterms and the exhaustion that often comes with that. But Futcher never looks at scoring during a tournament and stays in the moment. She didn’t know her team had a chance for the comeback win until the final putt.

Futcher is an accomplished player herself, having been the leading scorer at Penn State for all four years of her college career before going on to play on the LPGA for nine years. After qualifying for the LPGA in just her second attempt, Futcher competed in more than 25 major championships and 120 events while earning Class A status with the LPGA. In 2012, she made 18 cuts in 23 events and posted a pair of top-10 finishes including ties for eighth at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and the RICOH Women’s British Open.

She took the helm at Emory in 2018 and has watched the program grow.

“They’ve been working really hard, last tournament of the season, really tried to just keep them focused, keep them calm,” Futcher said of this week’s win. “Really had them rely on all the work they’ve put in this semester. I don’t think anyone has outworked us and that’s part of winning. Winning feels good – the work part doesn’t always feel good – but you have to do the work to win.”

Emory’s men made it a sweep for the Eagles by finishing 13 shots ahead of runner-up Methodist. At 12 under par, Emory was the only team in the red at the end of three rounds at the Raven Golf Club.

The Eagles tied for first at the Wabash Invitational to start the month and last week, won outright at the Tartan Invitational.

“We’ve been good this fall, I thought we’d be competitive,” said head coach John Sjoberg. “Our start today was just unbelievable, five birdies on the first hole and that kind of separated us a little bit from Methodist and we were able to continue to play well and hold them off.”

Emory’s men after winning the Golfweek DIII Fall Invitational.

Last month, Emory finished second to Methodist at the Division III Fall Preview at Mission Inn.

Sjoberg says this team is deeper – Nos. 1 to 9 – than it ever has been.

“Qualifying has been really competitive so that’s really set us up to come to events like this and feel like we’ve got a good chance to be a good team,” he said.

In the individual competition, Averett’s Caleb Kimbrough went 8 under to edge Carnegie Mellon’s William Knauth and Emory’s Jackson Klutznick.

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Reason 3,172 why Collin Morikawa is a stone-cold killer: 'I was more nervous on the Walker Cup tee shot ... than my Ryder Cup tee shot'

The first tee shot at the Ryder Cup makes grown men shake, quiver and sweat, but not Collin Morikawa.

Reason 3,172 why Collin Morikawa is a stone-cold killer: 'I was more nervous on the Walker Cup tee shot ... than my Ryder Cup tee shot'

Collin Morikawa is a bad man.

As if we needed any further confirmation that the winner of two majors before his 24th birthday — including the British Open in July — has that rare X-factor to go along with a deadly iron game, Morikawa answered what he learned about himself at the Ryder Cup.

“That I love being in that position,” he said. “I mean, I was more nervous on the Walker Cup tee shot, which is crazy to even think about, than my first Ryder Cup tee shot, which I don’t know if many people could say that, but I just loved being in that moment.”

Major winners and Hall of Famers have been shaken to the core at the first tee of Ryder Cups – see colleague Steve DiMeglio’s story if you haven’t already – but not Morikawa. This is the same guy who at the Ryder Cup turned to partner Dustin Johnson and said, “Let’s step on their necks.”

Stone. Cold. Killer.

Morikawa also said he learned valuable lessons about himself that will help in future team competitions, majors and regular PGA Tour events, such as this week’s Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan. Morikawa, who is of Japanese descent, is making his fifth trip to Japan dating to 2016, and fourth to play golf.

“I’ve pretty much come back once a year almost and it’s just getting better and better,” said Morikawa, who finished T-22 at the Zozo in 2019 and lost out in a playoff for the bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in August. That competition was played without fans, who will be a welcome addition to Morikawa this week.

“These are some of the best fans,” Morikawa said. “I was here earlier for the Olympics and we didn’t have anyone and it just felt dull. Even though it was the Olympics and we knew what we were playing for, it just, it has a different feeling when you have fans. I remember my first tee shot out here two years ago when there were fans on stools and lined up five, six people deep. They would cheer for you walking to tee boxes, hitting every tee shot whether it’s good or bad.”

And that’s not all Morikawa enjoys about returning to Japan – he also digs the food, especially sushi and udon.

“All of it,” he said. “I think it’s the best. I can come out here and stay for a month, I wish, and just eat and I probably would not look the same coming back.”

Morikawa played nine holes on Monday with the World’s No. 1 amateur, Keita Nakajima. He’s only a few years removed from being in college golf and advised Nakajima to savor these times because it won’t be long before he will be living his dream on the pro stage. Morikawa recorded his best result since winning the British Open at last week’s CJ Cup at The Summit, a runner-up finish to Rory McIlroy in Las Vegas. Morikawa overcame a slow start, shooting 17 under on the weekend, which included a final-round 62. With the wisdom of a Japanese sensei, Morikawa explained how sometimes the smallest adjustments can lead to the biggest results.

“I tell myself when I’m playing bad, these are big lessons I want to learn from and make sure I don’t try and repeat them, but when I’m playing good, sometimes I forget what I did as well,” he said. “And it’s not as simple as just taking a swing video when you’re playing well and you can remember that. It’s just little things that sometimes you forget about them because you worry about something else or you’re trying to work on another part of your game, but it’s stick to your strengths and keep pushing those.”

Morikawa isn’t content to just sit home and win tournaments in the U.S. He wants to be a world player and he isn’t afraid to travel, with tournaments scheduled in Dubai and the Bahamas in the next month and a half.

“You want your game to travel,” he said. “That’s why I’m a European Tour member, that’s why I play a lot or I try and play a lot in different places.”

And that, too, is what makes him a stone-cold killer.

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