SOUTHPORT, N.C. - It's been 12 years since the College of Charleston men's golf team's first and last conference title in 2002.
The Cougars ended that drought Sunday, claiming the Colonial Athletic Association men's golf championship title at The Founders Club at St. James Plantation.
As the league's automatic qualifier, the Cougars will make a return to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2003 - an at-large bid as former members of the Southern Conference.
This year's championship run by the Cougars was even more special as first-year members of the CAA and claiming the school's first team championship in a men's sport during their inaugural season and third overall next to volleyball and women's golf.
The Cougars shot a combined three-round score of 874 (+10) and won by seven strokes over runner-up Towson (+17). Both teams shared the lead heading into Sunday's final round.
Sophomore John Jonas carded a three-round score of 74-68-71-213 to finish at 3-under par and individual runner-up of the tournament. Freshman William Rainey placed third overall with a 217 (+1). Both were named to the CAA All-Tournament Team.
Senior Alex Ellis, who qualified for the NCAA LSU Regional a year ago as an individual, had an even-par round on the final day to tie for 12th individually at +8.
Junior Zach Munroe, who entered the 54-hole championship as the top-ranked player in the field, placed in the top 10 with a 223 (+7), which put him in a four-way tie for eighth. Sophomore Josh Lorenzetti tied for 17th with a three-round score of 227 (+11).
"What a win for our program and The College," said Cougars coach Mark McEntire, who is in his ninth season with the Cougars. "Congrats to our players on our first CAA men's championship in school history. I am so happy for our team. Alex Ellis started the comeback and the team followed. We played another excellent back nine and it allowed us to win the championship today."
This year's six NCAA Regional sites will be played on May 15-17 and hosted by Auburn (Southeast Regional), Missouri (South Central Regional), Oregon (West Regional), NC State (East Regional), UTSA (Southwest Regional) and Northern Illinois (Central Regional).
The Top 30 teams, five from each regional site, will then compete for the team championship hosted by Wichita State on May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Cougars will learn their regional destination as the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship Selection Show will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel at 10 a.m. May 5.
College of Charleston completed its second straight Colonial Athletic Association series sweep with a 5-1 victory over Drexel in the softball series finale at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.
The Cougars (37-14, 11-4 CAA) won their seventh straight and are one game behind James Madison in the league standings.
Charleston has one remaining regular season series scheduled with Towson at Patriots Point on May 2-3. The Cougars will commemorate their seniors with Senior Day on May 2 with first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m. in a doubleheader.
Hope Klicker went 51/3 innings to earn the win. Samantha Martin earned her second save of the season with 12/3 hitless innings.
CAA hit leader Lizzy Vaughn went 2 for 3 for the Cougars as the only player on either team with multiple hits. Kelsey Hodgson had four walks and Katie Padilla drove in two runs.
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