Columbus State, Robert Mize win titles in Aflac-Cougar Invitational

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 1, 2013 

With a 12-shot lead heading into Tuesday's final round of the Aflac/Cougar Invitational, the team title was all but assured for Columbus State.

The big question became whether No. 11 CSU would celebrate its second straight individual champion in the event it hosts at the Country Club of Columbus.

Robert Mize made the answer to that question yes as he birdied No. 16 and eagled No. 17 to tie Florida Southern's Tim Crouch. Mize then made a par on the 18th, while Crouch made a bogey for the victory.

With Tuesday's 4-under 67, Mize, a former team and individual champion from Brookstone, finished the three-round tournament at 6-under 207.

That was one-shot better than Crouch (72-208) and two shots ahead of CSU teammate Yannick Gumowski (70-209). The third-place finish was a career-best for Gumowski.

"I played well even though I went up-and-down over the first two rounds," said Mize. "I had to stay patient early today because my putts weren't going in but I knew they were come and they did down the stretch."

CSU won the team title with a 2-under 850 after a shooting a 3-over 287 on Tuesday.

The Cougars finished eight shots ahead of West Florida and 13 ahead of Georgia College. It was CSU's first victory since this same event in 2010.

The 18-team field was a strong one with 13 teams ranked in the GolfWorld/Nike Golf Division II Coaches' Poll.

"I'm so proud of the boys because the quality of their performance was excellent," commented head coach Mark Immelman.

"It was great to win the team event as well as the individual medalist."

CSU's Bryan Lichimo finished tied for 20th at 5-over 218 after a 74. James Clayton's 76 was the fourth counting score for CSU.

He finished tied for 68th at 232. Cates Culpepper, who was tied for fourth starting the day, shot an 81 to finish tied for 33rd at 221.

Lichimo has finished in the top 20 in nine of his 13 tournaments for CSU.

CSU plays again next Monday at the Indian Bayou Classic in Destin, Fla.

Jesse Gibson won the individual title last year in the Aflac/Cougar Invitational as the team finished second.

Mize is the son of 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize. Robert Mize led Brookstone to two high school state championships.

He also won an individual title in 2011.

He signed with Furman and spent one year there before transferring to CSU prior to the 2012-13 season.

Mize had a third-place finish in the Grub Mart Intercollegiate and a seventh in the Indian Bayou last season.

He was ninth in the Peach Belt Conference with a scoring average of 74.2, good enough to earn second-team all-conference honors.

Kevin Price, 706-320-4493

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