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Wake Forest falls by slim 3-2 margin in ACC Championship

Freshman Boyd Owens and sophomore Scotty Kennon notched the two Demon Deacon victories

Wake Forest Golf

PINEHURST, NC — When Wake Forest teed off for the ACC Championship on Monday morning, it was a chilly 50 degrees. And by the time the weather — and the Deacs — began to heat up, it was too late; Georgia Tech took the crown back from Wake Forest with a slim 3-2 victory.

“We got to keep learning in this game,” Wake Forest head coach Jerry Haas said. “You’ve got to look back and [evaluate] where the match turned for each and every guy.”

Fresh off an ACC individual championship on Sunday — Wake Forest’s first since Webb Simpson in 2008 — Michael Brennan struggled in the long run against Christo Lamprecht, losing 6 & 5.

Tied through three holes in the match, Brennan looked primed to take the lead on the fourth. He was on the green and Lamprecht was in the bunker. But, the Yellow Jacket holed out from the sand to take the fourth, and never ceded the lead from there.

To tie the championship at one, freshman Boyd Owens clawed back to defeat Connor Howe 2 & 1. Owens trailed by one leading into the back nine, but was able to flip the script of the match and keep the Demon Deacons alive.

“I’m real proud of Boyd Owens,” Haas said. “I mean, 32 on that last nine there to flip his match from two down to winning two in one.”

Senior Mark Power labored throughout the day, unable to sink the putts needed to win. But, Scotty Kennon never trailed in the fourth match of the championship, sending Wake Forest and Georgia Tech to a decisive fifth.

Enter golfers on two ends of the collegiate spectrum — Ross Steelman, a senior for the Yellow Jackets, and the Deacons’ Andrew McLauchlan, a freshman.

For nearly the entire back nine, McLauchlan trailed Steelman by two. On the 16th green, the senior made the lead three, nailing an 18-foot putt and sealing the win for Georgia Tech.

“Great experience for Andrew,” Haas noted, despite the defeat. “He looked very comfortable down the stretch here, and he’s a freshman. All these people, all this pressure. I thought he handled himself great.”

Though the loss hurts, the week was an overall success for the Demon Deacons. They weren't supposed to be playing on Monday.

“I think the players should know that we have a good team,” Haas said. “We’re very good. It’s a good time to be a Wake Forest golfer, we’ve got a lot of good things going.”

And the season isn’t over yet. Now, the Demon Deacons will turn their attention to NCAA regionals. There’s more golf left to be played.