Catamount Men’s Golf Opens SoCon Championship Monday

Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina men’s golf opens play in the 2021 Southern Conference Championship on Monday, April 19 as the two-day, 54-hole event is held for the first time at par-72, 7,158-yard The Oconee course at Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga. The event was slated to be hosted by the course in 2020 but was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament practice round is scheduled for Sunday with the three-round event opening with 36 holes of competition on Monday, April 19 beginning with split tee times in twosomes off the first and 10th holes beginning at 9 a.m. The final round is slated for Tuesday, April 20.
The league’s eight teams – ETSU, Furman, Mercer, UNCG, Samford, Chattanooga, Western Carolina, and Wofford – compete for the SoCon tournament title and the automatic bid to the NCAA regional field. The individual medalist will also earn an automatic regional qualification if he is not on the winning team.
Western Carolina’s scoring five is led by sophomore Pierre Viallaneix who ranks fifth in the SoCon in seasonal scoring average at 72.61. The Apopka, Fla., native had three top 10 finishes this season including a runner-up at the J.T. Poston Invitational at Cateechee back in the fall and a third-place showing at the Wofford Invitational. He is flanked by second-seed in classmate Magnus Pedersen, 20th in the SoCon with a 74.17 stroke average. The Norwegian-born striker has a pair of top 10 finishes this spring.
Coming off a career-best fifth-place finish at the Wofford Invite, freshman Presten Richardson (75.70) is seeded third, with juniors Louis Theys (74.83) and Tumi Kuld (75.57) rounding out WCU’s scoring five. Theys and Kuld are the only Catamounts in the scoring five with experience at the conference championship event coming as freshmen in 2019 as Kuld finished 18th (223) and Theys was 39th (244) in the individual finishing order.
The Catamounts have posted three podium finishes with a trio of runner-up tallies and have placed inside the top 10 in six of their eight seasonal events dating back to three tournaments played in the fall. Most recently, WCU finished tied for second with SoCon-foe Wofford at the Terriers’ home tournament at the Country Club of Spartanburg.
“We’re excited to finally be back competing for the SoCon Championship,” said WCU head coach Tim Eckberg. “It’s been a long two years waiting to get back to this event. This team has come a long way since the 2019 event and I’m excited for the opportunity these guys have in front of them.”
Eckberg added, “We are trending nicely going in and are riding some great confidence in what we are doing. I’m looking forward to a fun few days watching these guys do what that love.”
WCU ranks fifth in the SoCon in seasonal team scoring average at 294.48 on the season while it’s six, top 10 finishes are the fourth-most behind ETSU (8), Chattanooga (7), and Wofford (7). Furman led the conference in stroke average as a team at 288.56 ahead of Wofford (290.71), ETSU (291.96), and Chattanooga (293.39). Three teams in the SoCon – Furman, UTC, and Mercer – each scored team championships over the 2020-21 season.
In the most recent SoCon Championship held in 2019, UNCG turned in the best round in the championship event since 2001 to pull away from the field for its second-straight team title at Pinehurst No. 9. ETSU’s Shiso Go downed UNCG’s Nick Lyerly on the second playoff hole for medalist honors and the SoCon’s automatic individual bid to the NCAA Regional.
Complete results will be made available after play concludes through and Live scoring of the entire event is available online through GolfStat.