Article copied from Jamestown Post Journal (http://www.post-journal.com/sports/local-sports/2018/06/just-rewards/)
CHAUTAUQUA — The NJCAA Division III National Golf Championship will be held on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club this week for the 19th consecutive year.
For tournament director and Jamestown Community College athletic director Keith Martin, the notion that the course on Route 394 across from Chautauqua Institution has been the site for the annual event for nearly two decades makes him proud.
"It's just overwhelming to have the NJCAA believe in what we're doing and what we've done in the past," he said. "To have the wonderful support of our whole network — the college, Chautauqua Golf Club and the community with all the volunteers is just an amazing feat for everyone involved."
Most of the 86 players in this year's field hailing from 11 states were mere toddlers when the layout hosted the first Division III event in 2000. But as the tournament begins with first-round action Tuesday, what better time to look back at some of the highlights in order to give fans an idea of what to expect this week.
¯ Who could ever forget 2000, the year host Jamestown CC won it, and in 2012 when the Jayhawks nearly did it again? In 2000, Jamestown CC was down 10 shots going into the last day and came back and won it in decisive fashion. A dozen years later, the Jayhawks' Andrew Bird chipped in on 18 for an eagle, then the next three guys birdied it, and the hosts vaulted from fourth place to second place on the last hole.
¯ In 2015, Cincinnati State coach Scott Webb may have had the best celebration in the history of the event. After posing for obligatory photographs following his team's victory, he told his guys that he was headed for the pond that borders the 18th fairway. Emptying his pockets and stripping down to his underwear, Webb took off running and he leaped into the murky water. When he came up for air, he raised his arms in celebration, fulfilling a promise he made to himself when he took over as the Surge's head coach two decades earlier.
"I've been waiting to jump in that pond forever," Webb said that day.
¯ A year later, Dante Migliore of Mohawk Valley CC won a five-hole playoff to capture the individual title, only to repeat that effort in 2017 when he was the owner of a 6-under-par 282 total, making him only the second player in Division III history to claim back-to-back championships.
"I think this one feels a little better than last year, because I've worked so hard," Migliore said after his final-round 72. "It shows that hard work pays off and you can really do anything you put your mind to, no matter who you are."
¯ Also in 2017, Georgia Military College, fielding an all-freshman squad, led from start to finish to win the team championship going away.
"It's one thing when you survive and hold on, but it's another thing when you go and just take it," Coach Josh Miller said. "That's what we did today. It's not that somebody else lost it, we won it."
That team will return to defend its title this week — one of 12 team qualifiers — making Miller's post-tournament comments last year seem prophetic.
"We don't even have to worry about rebuilding," he said at the time. "Today was a building process. When we talked in our first meeting we told them, 'You're the start of something great, and it's up to you to be great. You're laying the foundation for the program.' We want to build and turn it into a perennial power and this is just the first step. I hope I'm standing here talking to you next year."
Speaking of perennial, that could also apply to Jamestown CC/Chautauqua Golf Club's relationship with NJCAA, a partnership that began in 2000 and will continue at least through 2020, making it the third-longest running consecutive championship site in the NJCAA behind only Grand Junction, Colorado for Division I baseball and Hutchinson, Kansas for Division I men's basketball.
"It's a great relationship between us and the NJCAA," Martin said. "All the way down the line, from new executive director Chris Parker, to NJCAA president Mick McDaniel, to Tommy Stewart, the NJCAA Division III golf chairman. They all speak highly of how we do things. It shows by continuing to give us the bid for the seventh straight time."
Among the team qualifiers there will be some familiar names, besides defending champ Georgia Military, including Sandhills, North Carolina, Vincennes, Indiana and Minnesota State Community and Technical College.
"I anticipate those four schools will be near the top," Martin said.
Of local interest, Jamestown CC will have three golfers, coached by Dan Vona, in the field — Anthony Miller, Dillan LaBarbera and Nick Mole. Miller and LaBarbera were selected to the All-Region 3 team this spring. The medalist in the Region 3 Tournament was Bobby Davenport of Mohawk Valley CC, who was a teammate of Migliore in 2016.
"(Davenport) should represent us very well at the national tournament,"Martin said.
The golfers will get their first look at the course during a practice round Monday. The first round of the tournament is Tuesday.
Twenty players from last year's tournament and one from 2016 will be in the field this week, including three All-Americans.
The returning All-Americans are John Buliga, Bucks County CC, second team after a ninth-place finish; Anthony Accettura, College of DePage, third team, after 14th-place finish; and Nick Kress, Minnesota State Community and Technical College, third team after 17th-place finish.