Stetson's Baylor Payne Captures Medalist Honors at Montgomerie Invite

Stetson's Baylor Payne Captures Medalist Honors at Montgomerie Invite

SPRING, Texas – Despite multiple weather delays and interruptions in play at the Colin Montgomerie Invitational, hosted by Houston Baptist, Stetson's Baylor Payne was able to maintain his focus to earn medalist honors for the first time in his collegiate career.
 
Payne, who finished the rain-shortened event at the Augusta Pines Golf Club with a three-under par score of 141, earned his third consecutive top 10 finish this year and their eighth of his Stetson career.
 
The victory came despite getting off to a slow start in Monday's first round.
 
"I double bogeyed the second hole of the event, but then had seven birdies to finish the round," Payne said. "We had to come in for a rain delay for about an hour and then played as many holes as we could yesterday. We had to go back out this morning and it was strange for everyone. No one seemed to play as well. It was misting this morning and then rained harder."
 
Payne said he focused on improving his putting stroke following a tie for eighth place at the Southern Utah tournament earlier this month.
 
"My putting was what really saved me," Payne said. "I had very few putts in the first round, and that was a big confidence booster. Everything was going in and I felt like I was going to make everything.
 
"I knew that if I could continue to hit the ball well off the tee, like I did in Utah, and get my putting straightened out, that I would have a chance to play well."
 
After posting a five-under par 67 in the opening round, Payne was even in the second round on Monday when weather forced a cancellation of play. He came back out with a pair of early bogeys on Tuesday, but then ran off a string of pars to finish.
 
"I knew I was leading after the first day," Payne said. "When we went back out, I had two bogeys and thought I needed a birdie to win. I wound up missing by birdie putt on the last hole, but Coach Watson told me when I made the par that I had won."
 
The decision not to play the scheduled third round was made on Monday evening because seven of the teams in the field had scheduled late afternoon flights. With the weather bad again, there was not enough time to get the second round completed and play a final round.
 
"The weather has been ugly," Payne said. "Rainy, stormy and windy. The course was a little rough around the edges but I
am thrilled with how I am playing now."
 
As a team, the Hatters finished 10th in the 16-team field, just two shots behind New Orleans and Bradley, who tied for eighth. Florida Gulf Coast held off Houston by two shots to win the team title. The Eagles finished with a two-over par 578.
 
Besides Payne, Stetson senior Tate Smith posted consecutive 75s and finished tied for 30th. Junior Chris Williardbounced back from an opening 81 with a 74 in the second round to finish tied for 59th. Freshmen Carson Tewell (82-80=162), Michael Sumner (84-79=163) and Ryan Peters (87-87=174) all struggled to get going in the event.
 
The Hatters will get to enjoy some down time during spring break before travelling to Myrtle Beach, SC, for the annual Bash at the Beach, hosted by Appalachian State March 10-12.
 
"The rest of the guys are a little disappointed, but they know what they have to do going forward," Payne said. "With spring break next week, we are going to take a little time off so that we can all come back fresh for the rest of the season."

 

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