ECSU's Futrell wins CIAA Northern Division tournament

Golfer shot a final round 74 to claim individual title

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Elizabeth City State's (ECSU) Tyler Futrell (left) putts on the 16th green during the second and final round of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Northern Division golf tournament, Tuesday, April 10, 2018 on the Sound Golf Links at Albemarle Plantation in Hertford.


By Craig Moyer
Sports Writer

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

HERTFORD — Elizabeth City State golfer Tyler Futrell knows what it takes to be successful on the course, from straight drives to accurate approach shots and precision putting.

Futrell does all of those things right, but one of most important factors in the senior’s success on the golf course is his ability to quickly move on from a mistake.

He said he gives himself 10 seconds to be angry after a bad shot, then after those 10 seconds pass he moves on and does not think about the mistake again.

“I just like to keep moving forward,” Futrell said. “I try to keep that in my head and move in one direction.”

That persistent push forward led to Futrell claiming the individual title at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Northern Division tournament in Hertford Tuesday.

The two-day tournament was held on the Sound Golf Links at Albemarle Plantation, as first round action took place Monday with the final round on Tuesday.

The Vikings were the tournament hosts, as Chowan, Fayetteville State, Johnson C. Smith, Livingstone College, Saint Augustine’s University, Virginia State and Virginia Union competed in the tournament.

Futrell finished the opening round on Monday with a 5-over par 77, as he entered the second round in a tie for fourth place overall.

Tuesday was no different, as Futrell posted the low round of the entire tournament, a 2-over par 74 to finish the tournament with a two-round total of 7-over par 151 and secure first place in the individual competition.

As all the golfers battled wet course conditions, Futrell knew his approach shots to the green and approach putts would be very important in having a successful round.

“I just set myself up to where I could make an easy two-putt with a good chance at par if not a birdie,” he said.

Futrell noted that his familiarity with the course helped him know where he could miss shots and where he could not miss.

He knew he needed a strong second round in order to compete for the title, but got off to a slow start with a double-bogey on the par-4 first and a bogey on the par-3 second hole.

The senior said he always plays with a positive attitude, which helped him overcome the slow start as he did not let the mistakes affect the rest of his round.

Futrell turned his day around with three birdies and two bogies on the next 10 holes, as a birdie on the par-5 12th got him to 2-over par on the day heading into the final six holes.

He recorded a par on each of the final six holes to claim the individual medalist honors.

Throughout the round, Futrell used strong approach shots and accurate putting to set himself up with short par attempts.

On the par-3 14th, his drive left him on the fringe of the green on the far side from the hole.

Futrell’s first putt from around 50 feet from the pin came just inches away from dropping in for a birdie, as he converted a short putt for par.

The senior continued his strong putting on the next hole, as he nearly made a 20 foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th and had a tap in for par.

On the final hole of the day, the par-4 18th, Futrell found himself just short of the green after his second shot.

A perfect chip from the edge of the green set him up for another short par putt, as Futrell held off Fayetteville State’s Isiah Shaw for first place.

Shaw had an impressive second shot on the 18th hole, as he then made a short birdie putt to finish the tournament with a two-round total of 8-over 152, just one stroke behind Futrell.

Chowan’s Christian Fleetwood and Saint Augustine’s Samuel Cudjoe finished tied for third at 11-over par 155.

In the team competition, Livingstone claimed the division title with a team total of 67-over par 643, as the Blue Bears posted team scores of 324 Monday and 319 on Tuesday.

Chowan finished six shots behind in second place with a total of 73-over par 649, as Fleetwood led the Hawks.

Virginia Union took third at 77-over 653, while Saint Augustine’s finished fourth with 97-over 673 and the Vikings placed fifth out of eight teams with a team total of 101-over 677.

Behind Futrell’s strong individual performance, ECSU’s Alex O’Connor finished tied for 21st with a total of 28-over 172, posting rounds of 81 and 91.

O’Connor said the biggest difference between in his performance in round one and round two was his play off the tee.

“I would like to improve on getting off the tee better and placing it where I want it so I can have those good second shots,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor, a sophomore, added that his poor tee shots forced him to scramble around as he dealt with the wet course conditions.

Taylor Guarracino and Will Fallon both finished with a tournament total of 177 for the Vikings in a tie for 25th overall at 33-over par.

ECSU’s Derrick Beach posted a two-round total of 281 to finish 41st.

The Vikings return to action at the CIAA championship tournament in New Kent, Virginia at The Club at Viniterra beginning on April 19.

Futrell said he hopes to carry the momentum from a strong performance at the division tournament into the conference tournament.

“Hopefully this will be a good step forward for the conference tournament,” Futrell said. “Hopefully I can continue the good play.”