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Maguire, Panthers win at Irish Creek Collegiate

KANNAPOLIS North Florida’s M.J. Maguire didn’t have the best of opening rounds on the first day of the Irish Creek Collegiate.

He more than made up for it over the final two rounds, closing out his weekend by taking the individual title Sunday in the men’s college golf tournament.

Maguire shot a 3-under-par 68 at The Club at Irish Creek to finish at 8-under 205, four strokes ahead of Akron’s Charlie Bull and Notre Dame’s Niall Platt. Bull and Platt finished at 4-under 209.

It was Maguire’s first individual title of the season and the second of his career. He won the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament last season.

Yet Maguire didn’t have winning the title in mind after opening with a 2-over 73 Saturday. He bounced back with a 7-under 64 – the lowest round recorded during the weekend – in the afternoon’s second round to move into a tie for the lead with Charlotte’s Thomas Rowland.

Maguire then wrapped up the final round with five birdies to overcome a double-bogey on the par 3 No. 3. Rowland, the only player who posted under 70 scores in the first two rounds, faltered to a 73 Sunday. He finished fourth at 210.

“We’ve been playing in really firm conditions lately, so these soft greens here kinda tripped me up in the first round,” said Maguire, a junior who earned third-team All-America honors last season. “I figured it out pretty well, and got on a roll.”

Georgia State won the team championship, edging North Florida by one stroke (859-860). Charlotte, which co-hosts the tournament with Davidson, and Wake Forest tied for third at 871.

This was the Panthers’ third tournament title of the season and their second in the past week. They tied with Virginia Tech for team honors at the Furman Intercollegiate last week.

“I told the guys last night it was going to be close,” Georgia State coach Joe Inman, 66, said. “This is a good team, but they can be a great team if they do things right. I think they are buying in, thinking ‘maybe this old, ancient, broken-down old golf pro may know something.’ ”

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