Baton Rouge Regional: Jacksonville earns 1st NCAA Championship berth via playoff

David Wicks, shown during the 2016 Atlantic Sun Championship

Baton Rouge Regional: Jacksonville earns 1st NCAA Championship berth via playoff

Men

Baton Rouge Regional: Jacksonville earns 1st NCAA Championship berth via playoff

Leaderboard

TOP TEAM: LSU (2-over 866)

TOP INDIVIDUAL: Sam Burns (4-under 212)

ALSO ADVANCED: Duke (874), Oregon (879), Virginia (881), Jacksonville (883)

JUST MISSED OUT: Northwestern (883), Kentucky (884)

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HISTORY MADE: Before this season, Jacksonville had never qualified for the NCAA Championship in men’s golf. That changed on Wednesday as the Dolphins defeated Northwestern in a playoff to grab the fifth and final NCAA Championship berth out of the NCAA Baton Rouge (La.) Regional.

After Jacksonville and Northwestern finished at 19 over, the Dolphins, which carded the final round of the day (1-over 289), and Wildcats each shot 2 over using a play-five-count-four format on the par-4 18th hole.

The teams then moved on to the par-4 10th hole. Jacksonville’s first three players combined to go 1 over while Northwestern’s two players in the first group went 1 over. In the second group, Jacksonville’s two players shot even par and Northwestern, which had a player hit a drive out of bounds, conceded defeat.

Jacksonville began the day in seventh place and didn’t get off to a fast start on the back nine. However, the Dolphins’ four counting players combined to shoot 2 under on the front nine. Raul Pereda birdied Nos. 4-7 as part of a 1-over 73. Davis Wicks’ closing 71 led the team.

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SAM BURNS, LSU TRIUMPH: Host and top seed LSU competed its wire-to-wire victory with a 6-over 294 to finish at 2-over 866, eight shots better than Duke.

Leading the way for LSU, which won the NCAA title in 2015, was sophomore Sam Burns. Burns shot 3-over 75 on Wednesday at the University Club, but he still finished at 4 under to edge Oregon senior Wyndham Clark by a shot.

The one-shot victory was big for Burns as far as the race for the Haskins Award is concerned. Clark entered regionals as a slight favorite, but Burns’ head-to-head win over Clark this week could give him the edge in the eyes of some voters. (Remember voting is now open to players, coaches and media.)

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SHORT SHOTS: Arkansas, which lost three seniors from last year’s team, finished eighth at 29 over. However, the Razorbacks’ Mason Overstreet will advance as an individual to the NCAA Championship after his sixth-place finish. … Duke’s second-place finish means the ACC champs will advance to the NCAA Championship for the fifth time in 10 seasons under head coach Jamie Green. … Virginia, which had no top 5s in three straight tournaments entering this week, placed fourth.

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