2006: Irvine player misses shot at finals

University of California-Irvine’s Brian Edick was in California when he found out he had a chance to snag a spot in the NCAA Division I Men’s Championship. Problem is, the playoff was in Arizona.

Edick, a junior, shot 8-under 208 at the NCAA Division I West Regional May 20 to tie for 11th at the Omni Tucson National Resort. The top 10 teams and two individuals from nonadvancing teams from each regional earned berths in the national finals May 31-June 3 at Sunriver Resort in Oregon.

UC-Irvine, which teed off in the morning wave, left the course at about 1 p.m. after shooting 294 and ending its hopes for a trip to Sunriver. Denver’s James Love wrapped up a bogey-free 68 after 5 p.m. to tie Edick for the final individual spot.

UC-Irvine coach Paul Smolinski, co-Big West Coach of the Year, said it was Edick’s decision to head home after the Anteaters completed play because he didn’t want to make his teammates wait several hours for a potential playoff. Edick said that wasn’t the case.

“I don’t recall (Smolinski) asking me if I wanted to stick around,” Edick said May 22. “I don’t think there was much conversation about that at all. I didn’t really know how the (individual qualifying) process worked and hadn’t really considered I had a shot for that. If somebody had told me I might have had a shot, it may have changed things.”

That knowledge may have changed his strategy on the 18th green, too. Edick figured nothing was on the line when he stood over his 20-foot birdie putt, so he put a little extra effort into the stroke to finish the event on a high note. He missed the 4-foot comebacker and made bogey.

Edick, a Big West Scholar-Athlete, instead will prepare for final exams, to be held the week after the NCAA Championship.

“I’m probably going to be pretty disappointed when I watch the (NCAA) results come up on the Internet,” Edick said.

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