NCAA men’s regional roundup: Top-10 team fails to advance, 50th-ranked team qualifies for first time in 34 years
The Pepperdine Waves celebrate after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2021 NCAA Championship.
The field of 30 is set for the NCAA Championship, and Wednesday was a typical chaotic, whirlwind day for those hoping to advance to the final tournament of the 2021-22 men's college season.
Most top teams safely qualified through NCAA Regionals, although Pac-12 champion Washington, ranked No. 9 by Golfstat, did not escape out of the Stockton (Calif.) Regional. The Huskies, winners of six events during the season, got off to a poor start during the first round Monday and were not able to rebound. They finished in eighth place, the top five in each Regional moving on to nationals.
The rest of the regions mostly went according to form although there were a few teams advancing from lower in the rankings. The biggest Cinderella story came out of the Norman (Okla.) Region as Utah qualified for the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1988. The Utes are ranked 50th and were the ninth seed in the region, but topped South Carolina (24), Louisville (36), Missouri (37) and San Diego State (48), which were all seeded higher.
There were six regionals spread over the United States. Each field had either 13 or 14 teams and the top five in each advance to the 30-team NCAA Championship May 27-June 1 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Pepperdine beat Oklahoma 3-2 in the championship match a year ago.
New Haven (Conn.) Regional at Yale Golf Course
ACC champion Wake Forest (17) cruise to a seven-shot victory after shooting 26-under-par 814 total. North Carolina (5) finished second and Texas Tech (8) tied for third. The final two positions were a bit of a surprise as 39th-ranked North Florida and 49th-ranked Georgia Southern advanced. It’s the sixth time the Ospreys have qualified, and it’s the second time in the last three years for the Eagles.
Big Ten champion Illinois, ranked 20th, tied for sixth place, four shots out of fifth.
Players from Wake Forest and North Carolina occupied the top five positions on the individual leaderboard with Tar Heel junior Austin Greaser, the 2021 U.S. Amateur runner-up, winning by a shot over teammate Ryan Gerard and Wake Forest’s Alex Fitzpatrick.
Columbus (Ohio) Regional at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course
Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech were tied atop the leaderboard at 10 under and shared the victory. It was the sixth consecutive time that the Cowboys won a regional title and their 16th overall. For the Yellow Jackets it was their sixth overall regional victory and the fifth win of the 2021-22 season.
“Great stuff, guys fought hard all day, all the way through to the end,” Georiga Tech coach Bruce Heppler said. “The five scores that we had were tremendous. Really a team effort for sure.”
Ohio State (35), Arkansas (14) and East Tennessee State (30) rounded out the top five positions. Clemson (23) tied for sixth place and missed.
On the individual side, Oklahoma State senior Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra shot 69-69-68 to beat Georgia Tech’s Ross Steelman by a shot.
Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Regional at PGA National’s Champions Course
Vanderbilt shot 20 under, won by 12 shots and continued its domination of men’s college golf during the spring. The SEC champion Commodores have played in seven tournaments since the beginning of the year and won six, finishing second in the other.
Florida State (22) finished second and Florida (10) was third. South Florida (40) held on for fourth place and 53rd-ranked College of Charleston, the lowest ranked team to qualify for the NCAA Championship, was fifth, 11 shots clear of Arkansas Little Rock. It’s Charleston’s first appearance at the NCAA Championship since 2001.
The biggest disappointment of the day easily came from Notre Dame, the 15th-ranked team in the country. The Irish shot 20 over par during the final round to finish in ninth place and miss the NCAA Championship by 18 shots. Purdue (26) was seventh.
Although Vanderbilt put on a commanding performance, it did not walk away with individual honors. Florida State sophomore Brett Roberts shot a final-round 67 to beat Vanderbilt’s Reid Davenport and Florida’s Fred Biondi by two shots.
Bryan (Texas) Regional at Traditions Golf Club
Arizona shot a tournament-low 276 in the first round and easily won, beating defending NCAA champion Pepperdine (6) by five shots. Texas A&M (12), Georgia (13) and Kansas (29) all easily advanced.
The next closest pursuer, 43rd-ranked SMU was 11 shots back and 19th-ranked Tennessee was two more back in seventh place.
Pepperdine senior Joe Highsmith shot bookend 69s to pick up medalist honors by a shot over teammate William Mouw and Arizona’s Chase Sienkiewicz.
Norman (Okla.) Regional at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club
Oklahoma is the top-ranked team in the country, the Big 12 champion and was playing on its home golf course. So it’s no surprise that the Sooners shot 26 under par for three days and won the region by 10 shots over Auburn (18). This Oklahoma’s 11th consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship. They lost in the championship match a year ago.
Ole Miss (25) was third and Texas (7) was in fourth place. The aforementioned Utah Utes were in fifth place as the 50th-ranked team in the country, advancing for the first time in 34 years.
Jackson Suber, an Ole Miss senior, shot 70-68-67 for an 11-under-par 205 total to win the individual title by a shot over Texas’ Travis Vick. Auburn’s J.M. Butler was third.
Stockton (Calif.) Regional at The Reserve at Spanos Park
The Washington hiccup highlighted the Stockton Region, but Pac-12 rival Arizona State ran away with the team title at 38 under par for three days. The Sun Devils topped Stanford (16) by 10 shots and BYU (46) by 11 shots. The Cougars topped five teams seeded better in the three days and shot 27 under par.
Oregon (28) was in fourth place and Liberty (38) put on a late, strong performance when three of their five players made birdie on the last hole. That propelled the Flames into the top five—past LSU (21) and Denver (108)—and to the NCAA Championship for the third straight year.
BYU senior Carson Lundell shot a final-round 68 to beat Arizona State’s Mason Andersen and Stanford’s Barclay Brown by a shot.