April 13, 2012

Ashby named SAC Golfer of the Year; Three Eagles Earn First Team All-SAC Honors

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Carson-Newman senior Liam Ashby has been named the 2012 SAC Men's Golf Player of the Year and teammates Jonathan Kim-Moss and Gavin Hay were also named First Team All-South Atlantic Conference, headlining the list of conference award winners that was released on Friday.

The announcement of the awards comes in advance of the 2012 Food Lion SAC Golf Championship, which tees off on Monday morning at Rock Barn in Conover, N.C.

Ashby led the conference in adjusted scoring average this season at 72.67.  The Dublin, Ireland native recorded one top-five finish and three top-20 finishes this season in eight events. 

Ashby's best round of the year came at the Bearcat Golf Classic, where he fired a second-round 68 – which tied for the third-lowest round score in the conference this season.

"Liam is well-deserving," Eagle head coach John Minor said Friday. "His hard work has paid off. He's been a very, very steady golfer. He won the award without winning an event, but he has anchored this team and you have to compliment his leadership."

Ashby is joined on the All-SAC First Team by teammates Gavin Hay and Jonathan Kim Moss.

"I think this honor validates the work all three of these young men have been putting into their game," Minor said. "I'm proud of all three of them."

Wingate's Brian Denton and Brevard's Kim Koivu also earned first team honors.

Koivu finished second in the SAC in adjusted scoring average at 72.78, followed by Hay at 73.02, Denton at 73.09 and Moss at 73.24.

Koivu, who twice shot rounds of 66 to match Moss for the league's lowest round of the season, was also named the SAC Freshman of the Year.

Hay's top round of the 2012 season came at the Bobcat Invitational where he carded a first-round 67, while Denton's top performance of the year was a 67 in the first round of the Tusculum Invitational. 

Ashby, Kim-Moss, and Hay give the Eagles three first-team selection, making Carson-Newman one of the favorites at next week's SAC Championships. C-N broke a multi-year drought with a pair tournament team titles this season. Now they are seeking their first SAC title since 2004.

"We're as healthy mentally as we have been all year," Minor said of the Eagles preparations for next week's tournament. "We've just had to be patient, but I think we're primed at the right time. One of our goals is to win the conference tournament, and we'll see what we are made of. This is the best the league has ever been in golf, and this tournament will be a battle."

Rock Barn will also host the NCAA Southeast Super Regional the first weekend in May. With a solid finish at the SAC Championships, the Eagles will likely receive an at-large bid to the Super Regional.

Lincoln Memorial's Eric Kennedy, Newberry's Matthew Campbell, Catawba's Matt Hardman and Wingate Clifford Blanquicet and Antoine LeSaux made up the All-SAC Second Team. 

Wingate's Corey Iacofano was named the SAC Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a stellar regular season that included tournament titles at the Honda Columbia Fall Classic, The Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate and the Carolina Sands Intercollegiate.

Wingate also finished in the top five in five other events during the 2011-12 season.

SAC Men's Golf Player of the Year:  Liam Ashby, Carson-Newman

SAC Men's Golf Freshman of the Year:  Kim Koivu, Brevard

SAC Men's Golf Coach of the Year:  Corey Iacofano, Wingate

All-SAC First Team

Liam Ashby, Carson-Newman

Brian Denton, Wingate

Gavin Hay, Carson-Newman

Kim Koivu, Brevard

Jonathan Kim Moss, Carson-Newman

All-SAC Second Team

Clifford Blanquicet, Wingate

Matthew Campbell, Newberry

Matt Hardman, Catawba

Eric Kennedy, Lincoln Memorial

Antoine LeSaux, Wingate

-C-N-