Chip by Robbie Higgins on final hole helps UNF win The Hayt golf tournament

Ospreys edge Charlotte by a stroke at Sawgrass Country Club

The UNF men's golf team holds trophies after winning The Hayt golf tournament at Sawgrass Country Club on Monday. (Justin Barney, News4JAX)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The Hayt golf tournament came down to one spectacular chip shot delivered by Robbie Higgins.

Higgins chipped out of the rough to the right of the green, getting it to within a foot and tapping in for birdie to give the University of North Florida men’s golf team a one-stroke win over Charlotte in the annual Hayt at Sawgrass Country Club on Monday afternoon. The Ospreys and 49ers were tied through the first two rounds and just about needed a playoff to determine a champ.

Higgins took care of that though and gave the Opreys their first win in the annual event since 2017.

UNF shot a 4-under 860 in the three-round tournament. Jacksonville was 12th at 30-over 894. The Ospreys and 49ers were the only schools under par.

“We got off to a great start. Didn’t play great yesterday afternoon but played pretty solid this morning,” said UNF golf coach Scott Schroeder. “And you never know how guys are going to handle playing near the lead. And we did a pretty good job. I’d like to have made a few more putts but all in all, they all handled themselves well, which is what we talked about a lot.”

Nick Gabrelcik garnered medalist honors for the second straight year for UNF, sharing them this year with LSU’s Drew Doyle, who had a 6-under 66 on Monday. Gabrelcik had a tough finishing stretch but finished with a final-round 70 and went 6-under for the tournament.

“I won last year individually and obviously defended well this year but as a team aspect it’s great for our confidence and motivation going into the rest of the season and heading into regionals,” Gabrelcik said. “We haven’t won yet this year so this was definitely a good steppingstone for what has to come.”

There was plenty of drama.

Gabrelcik bogeyed his 17th hole and then overshot his approach on 18th that wound up off in the backside bank behind the green. He tried to chip out, but the ball didn’t make it out of the rough. He wound up two-putting for bogey.

That left Charlotte well within reach on the final hole.

Higgins’ approach on the par-5 finisher was to the right of the green and into the rough. He chipped out and the ball ran right at the cup, finishing just to the right by a foot. Higgins tapped in for birdie and clinched the Hayt for the Ospreys. Higgins finished his tournament 5-under.

“He said on the 18 fairway, Scott, I really love these moments. And he showed us that he was capable of being really good in that moment,” Schroeder said. “Hitting a pretty average iron shot but then hit a phenomenal pitch.”


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.