Mocs Golf “Belongs With the Big Boys” After Top 5 Finish at Linger Longer Invitational

( EATONTON, Ga.—The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team completed an impressive three days at the Linger Longer Invitational on Tuesday afternoon. The Mocs turned 4-under 284 for a total of 4-over 868 to finish tied for fifth at Great Waters Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee.

How impressive was the week’s work? The Mocs earned a top 20 win by 25 shots over No. 16 Virginia. The quintet also had top 50 wins over No. 44 Arkansas (8 strokes) and No. 37 UNC Greensboro (36).

“I’m really proud how they finished this week against a stacked field,” Coach Blaine Woodruff explained. “Nick (Asst. Coach Robinson) and I felt like we had something with this team, but I don’t know if they believed it yet. They’ve bought into trying to get 1% better every day, but more importantly, they haven’t gotten complacent thinking the results have been good enough.”

Today’s effort was led by Samuel Espinosa’s 69 (-3). He was followed closely by Garrett Engle at 70 (-2) with Paul Conroy right behind with 72 (E). Braedon Wear’s 73 closed the team card with John Houk’s 74 serving as the drop score. That tied for the second-lowest drop of the day in the talented field.

Engle claimed his first career top 5 with a 5-under total of 211. He ended up tied for fourth – tying No. 1 Gordon Sargent of Vanderbilt – with 14 ranked wins (top 100) including two top 10, four top 25 and five total in the top 50.

Espinosa got his seventh top 25 in eight outings by tying for 24th with 3-over 219. Wear was one behind him at 220 which was one better than Houk’s 221. Conroy completed the week at 228.

No. 20 Alabama claimed the team title with 850 (-14). That was eight better than No. 11 Georgia Tech in second at 858. Top-ranked Vanderbilt was a distant third with 864. Clemson shot 7-under 281 to rise into fourth today with 867, one ahead of the Mocs in fifth alongside Georgia. The Tide’s Nick Dunlap was the individual medalist with 206.

“An event like this should further their self-belief that we belong with the big boys,” Woodruff added. “Nothing changes now with this result. We still have to come home, work hard and keep trying get better to be ready to compete at our next opportunity.”

The Mocs are back on the tee April 3-4 in Spartanburg, S.C. The squad takes on the Country Club of Spartanburg in the Wofford Invitational.

Linger Longer Invitational

March 19-21 (Sun-Tue) | Eatonton, Ga.


T5th of 16: 296-288-284=868 (+4)

T4) Garrett Engle: 70-71-70=211 (-5)

T24) Samuel Espinosa: 79-71-69=219 (+3)

T29) Braedon Wear: 75-72-73=220 (+4)

T33) John Houk: 73-74-74-221 (+5)

T59) Paul Conroy: 78-78-72=228 (+12)

3 Notes to Know

–       The 25-stroke win over 16th-ranked Virginia is the first over a top 25 team since No. 19 Georgia at the 2017 Southern Intercollegiate. That was a 3-shot win over the Bulldogs in Athens, Ga., at Athens Country Club.

–       Engle was +5 on his first nine holes this week & -10 on his second. The Mocs opened on No. 10 on Sunday then the 1st over the last two rounds. By traditional nines, he was 5 under on the front and even on the back but were 1 over on 1-9 and 4 under on 10-18 when played in the usual order.

–       13th par or better 18-hole score for the team is tied for second in school history for a season. Only the 2007-08 campaign’s 18 has generated more. Also turned in 13 in 2007-07, 2010-11 & 2016-17.


Great Waters | Par 72 | 7,436 yards


(59) Chattanooga, (20) Alabama, (44) Arkansas, Augusta, (79) Charlotte, (51) Clemson, (34) Georgia, (11) Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Mercer, (37) UNC Greensboro, South Alabama, (89) South Florida, (1) Vanderbilt, (16) Virginia & Wofford



Team: 3rd, 297-289-290=876, +12

Ind: T3, Bryce Ledford, 72-69-72=213, -3


Team: 4th, 288-282-293=863, -1

Ind: T8, Jonathan Hodge, 69-68-75=212, -4


Team: 3rd, 278-298-292=868, +4

Ind: T6, J.T. Clendenin, 66-72-77=215, -1


Team: 2nd, 284-289-291=864, E

Ind: T4, Stephan Jaeger, 69-69-73=211, -5


Team: 3rd, 289-288-293=870, +6

Ind: 3, Stephan Jaeger, 68-74-68=210, -6


Team: 8th, 283-289-306=878, +14

Ind: T13, Liam Johnston, 68-75-72=215, -1


Team: 14th, 296-291-294=881, +17

Ind: T30, Liam Johnston, 74-73-79=217, +1


Team: 9th, 283-293-300=876, +12

Ind: T17, Luke Long, 73-69-73=215, -1


Team: 7th, 297-284-295=876, +12

Ind: T16, C. Nolan, 75-70-70=215, -1


Team: 13th, 301-305-299=905. +41

Ind: T34, B. Wear, 71-75-74=220, +4

*Not played at Great Waters Course

Categories: Sports – Local Sports News, Sports – UTC Mocs