Raleigh Regional: Final-hole dramatics send Arizona State to NCAA Championship

ASU Athletics

Raleigh Regional: Final-hole dramatics send Arizona State to NCAA Championship

Men

Raleigh Regional: Final-hole dramatics send Arizona State to NCAA Championship

Here’s a recap of the final round of the NCAA Division men’s golf regional at Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh, N.C.:

LIVE SCORING: Team | Individual
TEAM WINNER: Texas (39-under 813)
INDIVIDUAL WINNER: Doug Ghim, Texas (17-under 196)
ALSO ADVANCING: 2. Duke (830), 3. North Carolina State (831), 4. Augusta (832), 5. Arizona State (834)
INDIVIDUAL ADVANCING: Pontus Nyholm, Campbell (204*)
*won playoff

• • •

Yu sends Sun Devils through

Arizona State head coach Matt Thurmond called the Raleigh Regional a “brutal regional.” And it lived up to that assessment this week. Host North Carolina State was the sixth seed. Nearby Duke was the fifth seed. Both advanced. Inclement weather threatened to shorten the event to 36 holes, though it eventually held off. And the top two seeds, Georgia Tech and California, failed to advance.

Of course, Thurmond’s Sun Devils were one of the reasons the top-seeded Yellow Jackets didn’t finish in the top 5. (Georgia Tech is the third No. 1 seed in regional history to not make it out of regionals.)

Sun Devils sophomore Chun An Yu and Yellow Jackets sophomore Tyler Strafaci were playing in the same group on Wednesday. Entering their final hole, the par-4 ninth, Georgia Tech held a one-shot lead over Arizona State. But Strafaci missed the fairway and ended up making bogey, setting the stage for Yu to make an 8-footer for birdie to send the Sun Devils through.

Yu’s final-round 2-under 69 left him T-5 on the individual leaderboard. Alex del Rey shot 6-under 65 for Arizona State to climb to T-26.

“I’ve been in a lot of regionals now in my career and this one will go down as maybe the most intense and most dramatic,” Thurmond said. “Yesterday we thought we were done. The weather report was looking bad, lightning in the area … and there were expectations that we would not play today. We had just finished poorly on the final hole and were in sixth place, a couple strokes out, and we thought we had blown it and we felt everything that that meant. We felt that our season was over, that we had not come through and then somehow we got some energy as the night went on, the weather report got a little bit better, they moved up the tee times and before you know it we’re back out there playing with nothing to lose and a new lease on life.”

Georgia Tech now fails to advance to the NCAA Championship by just one shot for the second straight season. The Yellow Jackets barely missed out last year at the Stanford Regional.

“It’s all very disappointing,” Georgia Tech head coach Bruce Heppler said. “It was the same scenario as last year when we were in it for 5 hours and 4 minutes and lost it on the last hole, and we lost it on the last hole again. But you go back and look at the week, and we just didn’t play well enough. The regular season is the regular season, and when you come to these things, you’ve got to be ready to go, and our last two rounds were not good enough to advance. We had chances in the second and third rounds, but we just didn’t get it done. So now the guys will go home and work over the summer, and we’ll come back in August and see what we can make of ourselves.”

• • •

SHORT SHOTS: Augusta is heading back to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2011 when it won its second of two straight NCAA titles, at Karsten Creek. The 12th-seeded Jaguars shot 14 under in the final round, making 16 birdies on the back nine, to jump four spots on the leaderboard. Broc Everett finished runner-up individually. “What a day,” Augusta head coach Jack O’Keefe said. “We had to clutch up on the last day and we sure did. My hat is off to the guys in a total team effort. We’re excited to obviously be going back to Stillwater … and we’re going to try and use those vibes and the vibes from today to carry forward and see what we can do.” … Texas, the No. 3 seed, cruised to the team title behind individual champion Doug Ghim, who won by three shots to win his second straight event. … Host and sixth-seeded North Carolina State also advanced. That last time N.C. State made it to the NCAA Championship as a team was 2011 at Karsten Creek. … Nyholm advanced after beating Middle Tennessee State’s Marcus Byrd and Missouri’s Hayden Buckley on the third playoff hole. … Cal failed to advance as the No. 2 seed, as did Bears junior Collin Morikawa, who was a Haskins Award contender.

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