Clayton Tribus can't wait for the Furman Invitational.
On the heels of his first collegiate victory Sunday at the Pinehurst Intercollegiate, the Madison native and Davidson College freshman will have had nearly two weeks to savor the win by the time he tees it up next March 22 through 24 in Greenville, S.C. Tribus, who played one season of high school golf at Madison Edgewood before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida, believes he and Wildcats coach Tim Straub found the missing link in his game last weekend at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.
"I hit the ball especially well this week," Tribus wrote via Twitter message to Wisconsin.Golf, well aware that he had finished 72nd and 22nd in his first two starts on the spring schedule, the latter competing as an individual. "Coach Straub and I had been working on my tempo in my transition and that change was the key to playing well consistently on a tough course, and also was a good way to take my mind off of winning."
Winning, Tribus said, was never on his mind until he opened with a 67 on Pinehurst's No. 8 Course.
"My mindset going in to the event was just to try and help my team," wrote Tribus, whose mindset changed after his 67-72 start left him with a five-stroke lead entering the final round. "I talked to my coach the night before about how to manage my game with a big lead, and he told me to take it one shot at a time, focus on myself, and to not be afraid to go at a pin if I had a good number."
That proved to be Tribus' fortune starting the final round. He birdied his first three holes and never looked back, winning with a 3-under-par 210 total and finishing three strokes ahead of teammate Viraj Garewal, who shot 69 to finish at even-par 213.
"I ended up having some good numbers into the first three holes and was able to role in some pretty good putts," Tribus wrote. "After my start, I felt much calmer than I did standing on the first tee. It was the confidence boost I needed to finish up the tournament, especially because we had some poor weather throughout the back nine."
Davidson, ranked 109th in this week's GolfStat.com NCAA Division I rankings, won the event by 29 strokes over Radford. Four of the five golfers in the scoring lineup finished in the top eight, which could be a sign of things to come for the reigning Atlantic 10 Conference champions.
"I think our victory goes to show how good our team is," Tribus wrote. "We had five guys in the starting lineup in the top 11 and even an individual in the top 25. It’s a step in the right direction, and a good sign that we are working on the right things."