BURLINGTON, N.C. – Gardner-Webb held a big lead after each of the first two days at the Elon Phoenix Invitational, and put its foot more squarely on the pedal Friday to win the event by 18 strokes.
The tournament was played on the 6,867-yard Alamance Country Club course.
The Runnin' Bulldogs fired the best round of the tournament on Tuesday, a 272, to finish at 22-under par. Loyola (Md.) finished second and 4-under par, with host Elon one stroke back of that pace in third.
Coach Tee Burton's squad shot a 277 to post a sizable 11-stroke lead after the first round Monday morning, then kept its lead comfortable with a 281 in the second round.
The came Tuesday's final 18 holes.
Chris Jones and Aaron Thomas each carded matching scores of 66 on Tuesday to lead the way. Vincent Blanchette and Jonathan Henry each came through with a round of 70 to build the team's cushion further.
Jones (68-73-66-207) and Thomas (69-72-66-207) each finished 6-under par for the tournament to tie for sixth individually. Blanchette (68-70-70-208) was also strong all week, finishing one stroke back in a tie for 10th.
Jones and Thomas each holed out six birdies in the tournament
Stefan Smith (72-68-75-215) tied for 32nd position, with Henry (75-71-70-216) rallying over the final two rounds to pull into a tie for 36th.
Gardner-Webb led the event with 24 birdies, and also paced the field in Par 3 scoring (Even) and Par 4 scoring (-1). GWU kept pace with the rest of the participants in Par 5 scoring as well, shooting 7-under on those holes.
The 'Dogs will get back on the links this weekend, traveling to Camden, S.C., for the 2016 Camden Intercollegiate.