CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---The Chattanooga men’s golf team made history throughout the 2008-09 season as the Mocs continued to set new standards for the teams that follow. This year’s edition earned the school’s first No. 1 ranking in the Division I era and made its first NCAA Finals appearance.
The year started off with back-to-back wins for the Mocs at the Aldila Scenic City Invitational and the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic. The win at the Carpet Capital was the most prestigious tournament victory in the Mocs history against a stellar field that included No. 2 Georgia, No. 6 Clemson, No. 7 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Florida and No. 10 Alabama, just to name a few. Other top 20 victims included No. 13 South Carolina, No. 15 UCF, No. 17 Tennessee and No. 20 Texas Tech.
Following the win at the Carpet Capital, the Mocs were ranked No. 1 in the country in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Index. All-in-all, Chattanooga registered 20 wins over top 25 programs in 2008-09 as it finished the year ranked No. 25.
The Mocs won three tournaments including their third straight Southern Conference Championship. It was won in exciting fashion as the Mocs final three players on the course, Stephan Jaeger, Fredrik Qvicker and Derek Rende, made up three shots in the final two holes to claim a two-shot win over Georgia Southern.
Rende, Jaeger and Ben Rickett were named to the All-Southern Conference team with Jaeger claiming Freshman of the Year honors. It is the third straight year three or more Mocs earned all-conference.
Rickett had perhaps the most impressive showing of the year with his eighth-place finish at the PING/Golfweek Preview at Inverness Club in September. Against a field only rivaled by the NCAA Finals itself, the senior from London, England shot one-under par 212 over 54 holes to tie Tennessee’s Cameron Lawrence in eighth.
Fellow senior Jonathan Hodge and Jaeger were not far behind in making lasting impressions on 2008-09. Hodge tied for second with South Carolina’s Allen Koon shooting three-under par 213 at the Carpet Capital. Jaeger almost matched him shot for shot there tying for fourth at 214 (-2).
Rende had a spectacular Spring with two good top five finishes. His fourth-place at the SunTrust Gator Invitational was highlighted by three rounds in the 60s playing 54 holes at four-under par 206. At the Administaff Augusta State Invitational, Rende shot a 10-under par 206 to finish second. It was an impressive display as he played par or better on 51 of 54 holes.
Qvicker made his mark at this year’s SoCon Championship tying for second at five under, 211. Qvicker finished his final two holes birdie-par, while his opponent, SoCon Player of the Year Logan Blondell, ended par-bogey to help lead the Mocs to the title. Qvicker also posted the low round of the season, a minus-10 total of 62 at the Aldila Scenic City at Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga.
The lasting impression for 2008-09, however, came in Stillwater, Okla. Playing in the South Central Regional, the fifth-seeded Mocs finished third to earn entry into the NCAA Championships at the famed Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
The third place finish was a total team effort as all five student-athletes counted to the team score in two of the three rounds. Rende and Rickett counted all three rounds.
A top eight stroke play finish eluded Chattanooga in the finals. The Mocs finished 18th after starting the tournament in third place after round one. The national recognition did not stop there as Head Coach Mark Guhne was named Eaton/Golf Pride East Region Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
All-in-all, it was a banner year for the Mocs...one that is just a sign of things to come.