PACIFIC PALISADES, CA -- Big 12 Champion Texas A&M looks to add a second national championship trophy to its collection when the Aggies participate this week in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship at Riviera Country Club. Action gets underway Tuesday and will run through Sunday.
Texas A&M AGGIES
at 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship
Tuesday, May 29 - Sunday, June 3, 2012
Riviera Country Club (par 71/7,292 yards) • Pacific Palisades, California
• The Big 12 Champion Texas A&M golf team is making its fifth straight NCAA Championship appearance and 28th overall ... action takes place Tuesday through Sunday at Riviera Country Club (par 71/7,292 yards) ... one round is scheduled for each of the first three days, with match play getting underway on Friday.
• A&M won the program's first national championship in the first year of match play (2009) ... the Aggies have finished 13th or better in each of the last four years ... among all collegiate programs, only Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and USC have finished in the top 15 in each of the last four seasons.
• Texas A&M is one of just six schools nationally which have advanced to the final site in at least the last five years (Florida, UCLA, USC, Texas, Illinois).
• The Aggies earned a trip to Los Angeles with a second-place finish at the Bowling Green Regional (860, -4), one shot back of champion Chattanooga ... four A&M players finished in the top 20 at the event.
• A&M has finished fifth or better in 12 of 13 tournaments this season, posting victories at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate and the Big 12 Championship ... the Aggies have finished second in four other tournaments.
• The Aggies have posted a win-loss record of 148-30 (.831) this year and a 104-20 (.838) mark this spring ... A&M's season stroke average of 287.88 ranks third on the school's all-time charts.
Texas A&M Lineup
Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Avg. Rds. Par/- Top 10s Lo 18/54
Ty Dunlap 6-1 180 Fr. 73.03 34 19 4 68 / 211
Jordan Russell 6-0 155 Sr. 72.60 43 16 5 66 / 205
Geoff Shaw 5-8 145 Sr. 73.14 37 15 4 65 / 205
Johannes Veerman 6-3 185 So. 72.84 25 13 4 68 / 209
Greg Yates 5-11 180 RFr. 72.74 34 15 4 66 / 204
• The tournament will begin with 54 holes of stroke play (18 each day) ... following that, the top eight teams will advance to match play to determine the national champion ... teams will be seeded 1 through 8 by order of finish in stroke play, and will face off in a bracket-style tournament with one round set for each day ... the championship is scheduled for Sunday, June 3.
• Live scoring will be available on ncaa.com ... ncaa.com will also provide a live video stream beginning Thursday.
The Field (30 teams)
• A 30-team field will compete for the championship ... five teams advanced from each of the six regional sites.
Alabama Kent State TCU
Auburn Lamar Texas
California Liberty Texas A&M
Chattanooga Memphis Tulsa
East Carolina North Florida UAB
Florida Oklahoma UCF
Florida State Oregon UCLA
Georgia San Diego State Virginia
Illinois USC Virginia Tech
Iowa Stanford Washington
• Individuals include Philip Chian (Long Beach State); Vaita Guillaume (Campbell); Albin Choi (North Carolina State); Nate McCoy (Iowa State); Jonathan De Los Reyes (St. Mary’s); Josh Anderson (Pepperdine).
• Texas A&M will be paired with San Diego State and North Florida for Tuesday's first round (1:30 p.m. PT, Hole No. 1) and Wednesday's second round (8:10 a.m. PT, Hole No. 10) ... third-round pairings will be determined on Wednesday evening.
Aggies in NCAA Championship Play
• Texas A&M is making its 28th all-time appearance at the NCAA final site.
• A&M has earned a berth in the NCAA Championship in five straight seasons and eight of the last nine years overall.
• The Aggies are one of only six schools in the country that have advanced to the last five NCAA finals, joining Florida, UCLA, USC, Texas and Illinois.
• A&M is competing at the NCAA Championship in the state of California for the third time in program history ... the previous two trips to nationals in the Golden State have resulted in 10th-place finishes (1981 in Stanford, 1983 in Fresno).
Riviera Country Club (par 71/7,292 yards)
• The Riviera Country Club's internationally renowned golf course was established in 1926 and has been open for play since 1927. Noted for its spectacular beauty and uniquely challenging design, the George C. Thomas masterpiece is perennially rated among the very finest in the world.
Head Coach J.T. Higgins
• J.T. Higgins (Eastern Oregon State '89) is in his 11th season at the helm of the Texas A&M golf program ... Higgins has led the Aggies to a school-record 10 straight NCAA tournaments and guided the program to its first national championship three seasons ago (2009).
• Higgins was named the BIg 12's Coach of the Year after guiding the Aggies to their first conference title since 1987 ... it was the second Coach of the Year honor of his career (2001 Mountain West COY while at New Mexico).
• Texas A&M golfers have earned 10 All-America honors under his watch ... two are currently playing on the PGA Tour, Bobby Gates and Martin Piller.
2011-12 Season Awards
• Big 12 Coach of the Year: J.T. Higgins
• GCAA National Assistant Coach of the Year: Jim Anderson
• All-Big 12 Team: Cameron Peck, Jordan Russell
• Big 12 All-Tournament Team: Ty Dunlap, Johannes Veerman, Jordan Russell
• Big 12 Golfer of the Month: Cameron Peck (November)
AGGIE LINEUP: A CLOSER LOOK
Ty Dunlap (Fr., Westlake, Texas)
• Team's top finisher in both postseason events (second at Big 12 Championship, third at NCAA Regional) … has a 71.14 stroke average in the postseason ... named A&M’s Newcomer of the Year in a vote by his teammates … has appeared in 11 tournaments, posting a 73.03 scoring average … posted six top-20, four top-10 and three top-5 finishes … 29 of 34 rounds (85 percent) counted toward team total … leads the team with 19 par or better rounds … broke 70 three times, with a season low of 68 … shot a 5-under 211 at the NCAA Regional to lead A&M to a second-place finish ... named to the All-Tournament team after finishing second at the Big 12 Championship (287, -1) … as the last on the course, drained a two-footer on the final hole to give the Aggies their first conference title since 1987 … also placed second at the prestigious Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters (214, -2) in March in Las Vegas … opened collegiate career with a ninth-place showing at the Lone Star Invitational (217, +1) in October in San Antonio … placed 11th at the Aggie Invitational (224, +8) in April … opened the spring with an 18th-place showing at the John Burns Intercollegiate (216, E) in Hawai’i … recorded two other top-25 finishes, at the Hootie at Bulls Bay (222, +6) and The Woodlands All-American Intercollegiate (217, +1) … named a Texas A&M Athletics Scholar Award winner.
Tournament Scores Par Rank
Lone Star Invitational 71-72-74=217 +1 t9th/84
U.S. Collegiate Championship 82-77-70=229 +13 t64th/74
John A. Burns Intercollegiate 71-74-71=216 E t18th/105
Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate 72-79-70=221 +5 t49th/120
Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters 68-72-74=214 -2 t2nd/78
Morris Williams Intercollegiate 73-73-79=225 +12 39th/72
Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate 76-71-75=222 +6 t25th/75
All-American Intercollegiate 71-69-77=217 +1 t25th/81
Aggie Invitational 71-81-72=224 +8 t11th/70
Big 12 Championship 73-71-69-74=287 -1 2nd/50
NCAA Bowling Green Regional 71-70-70=211 -5 t3rd/75
Jordan Russell (Sr., College Station, Texas)
• An All-Big 12 selection … the team’s Robert Ellis Coach’s Award winner for 2012 … has competed in all 14 tournaments, ranking second on the team with a 72.60 stroke average … leads the squad with 10 top-20 finishes … has also earned five top-10 and three top-5 showings … ended tournaments below par four times … 36 of 40 rounds (90 percent) have counted toward team total … tied for 14th with a 2-over 218 at the NCAA Regional ... named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team after finishing ninth at the Big 12 Championship in April at Whispering Pines (294, +6) … best individual showing was a second-place finish at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in Dallas (205, -8), leading the Aggies to the team title … strong showing in team’s final fall event, shooting a 2-over 218 to place 12th at the Amelia Island Intercollegiate in Florida … tied for fifth with a 2-nder 211 at the prestigious Western Refining Collegiate All-American in El Paso … was the team’s top individual at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate in February in California, turning in a 3-under 213 en route to an eighth-place finish … finished 20th at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate (219, +6) in March in Austin … topped A&M’s team with a fifth-place showing (214, -2) at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate in March in South Carolina … shot a 2-under 214 en route to a 14th-place finish at The Woodlands All-American Intercollegiate … low round on the year was 66, in the first round of the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate … totaled eight sub-70 rounds on the year … named a Texas A&M Athletics Scholar Award winner.
Tournament Scores Par Rank
Lone Star Invitational 74-69-76=219 +3 t17th/84
U.S. Collegiate Championship 76-73-74=223 +7 t46th/74
Royal Oaks Intercollegiate 66-67-72=205 -8 t2nd/78
Amelia Island Intercollegiate 74-69-75=218 +2 t12th/83
Western Refining Collegiate All-American (ind.) 68-73-70=211 -2 t5th/27
John A. Burns Intercollegiate 72-73-77=222 +6 t41st/105
Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate 70-70-73=213 -3 t8th/120
Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters 73-73-77=223 +7 26th/78
Morris Williams Intercollegiate 72-68-79=219 +6 t20th/72
Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate 71-68-75=214 -2 t5th/75
All-American Intercollegiate 69-73-72=214 -2 t14th/81
Aggie Invitational 77-74-78=229 +13 t24th/70
Big 12 Championship 73-73-71-77=294 +6 9th/50
NCAA Bowling Green Regional 76-69-73=218 +2 t14th/75
Geoff Shaw (Sr., Edmond, Okla.)
• Named A&M’s Most Improved Player in a vote by his teammates … enters nationals with six straight top-15 finishes … has posted a 72.74 scoring average and totaled 15 par-or-better rounds, doubling his career total of 15 entering the season … has carded seven top-20 and four top-10 finishes … finished tournaments below par four times … 24 of 28 rounds (86 percent) counted toward team total … finished 11th at the NCAA Regional with a 1-under 215 ... nailed down his first career victory at The Woodlands All-American Intercollegiate in April, shooting an 11-under 205 … score ranks as one of the top 10 individual tournament showings in school history … tied for seventh following a 1-under 215 at the fall’s final tournament, the Amelia Island Intercollegiate in Florida … finished sixth at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate (211, -2) in March in Austin … 2-over 218 at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate in South Carolina good for a 12th-place showing … A&M’s top finisher at the Aggie Invitational in April, shooting a 5-over 221 to end the tournament in seventh place … tied for 14th at the Big 12 Championship in April at Whispering Pines, carding a 9-over 297.
Tournament Scores Par Rank
HBU Men’s Intercollegiate (ind.) 74-73-78=225 +12 t27th/52
Royal Oaks Intercollegiate 74-73-72=219 +6 50th/78
Amelia Island Intercollegiate 74-70-71=215 -1 t7th/83
John A. Burns Intercollegiate 71-76-72=219 +3 t31st/105
Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate 74-75-81=230 +14 t92nd/120
Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters (ind.) 79-73-79=231 +15 t56th/78
Morris Williams Intercollegiate (ind.) 65-71-75=211 -2 6th/72
Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate 72-72-74=218 +2 t12th/75
All-American Intercollegiate 69-67-69=205 -11 1st/81
Aggie Invitational 77-73-71=221 +5 t7th/70
Big 12 Championship 79-72-73-73=297 +9 t14th/50
NCAA Bowling Green Regional 74-71-70=215 -1 11th/75
Johannes Veerman (So., Sugar Land, Texas)
• Has played in eight tournaments, one as an individual … recorded four top-10 finishes … scoring average of 72.84 is fourth best on the team … 13 of 25 rounds (52 percent) were par or better … 17 of 22 rounds (77 percent) counted toward team total … finished 17th at the NCAA Regional with a 3-over 219 ... shared medalist honors at the prestigious U.S. Collegiate Championship in the fall outside Atlanta, firing a 6-under 210 at Hawk’s Ridge to top the field … victory was the first of his young career … named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team after helping lead the Aggies to their first conference crown since 1987 … shot a 2-over 290 to place sixth overall … turned in a seventh-place showing in his first event at A&M, carding an even-par 216 at the Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio in October … fired a 4-under 209 at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in October in Dallas, finishing ninth to help the Aggies to the team title … finished 26th at the fall season-ending Amelia Island Intercollegiate (222, +6) in Florida … season-low round was 68 in the NCAA Regional (second round).
Tournament Scores Par Rank
Lone Star Invitational 69-70-77=216 E t7th/84
U.S. Collegiate Championship 71-70-69=210 -6 t1st/74
Royal Oaks Intercollegiate 70-69-70=209 -4 t9th/78
Amelia Island Intercollegiate 76-74-72=222 +6 t26th/83
All-American Intercollegiate 75-73-72=220 +4 t42nd/81
Aggie Invitational (ind.) 77-77-81=235 +19 t44th/70
Big 12 Championship 72-70-73-75=290 +2 6th/50
NCAA Bowling Green Regional 74-68-77=219 +3 t17th/75
Greg Yates (RFr., Mansfield, Texas)
• Has participated in 11 tournaments, two as an individual … in A&M's lineup in nine of the last 11 tourneys ... features the team’s third-best scoring average at 72.74 … 15 par or better rounds, fourth best on squad … has finished in the top 25 in all but three tournaments … turned in a total score of par or below six times … recorded six top-20, four top-10 and two top-5 finishes … 18 of 28 rounds (64 percent) counted toward team total … won the HBU Men’s Intercollegiate (204, -9) as an individual in his first collegiate event in October … tied for 13th at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate (211, -2) in October in Dallas, his first team event … fired a 4-under 212 to place fifth at the Amelia Island Intercollegiate in Florida in November … opened the spring with an eighth-place showing at the John Burns Intercollegiate (213, -3) in Hawai’i … tied for 10th at The Woodlands All-American Intercollegiate (213, -3) in April while playing as an individual … 20th-place showings at both the Aggie Invitational (228, +12) and the Big 12 Championship (301, +13) … even-par 216 earned him a 21st place finish in February at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, held in California … totaled six sub-70 rounds … season (and career) low round was 66 … was the team’s best driver, hitting fairways 75.9 percent of the time … topped the squad in the regular season with a 68.3 green in regulation percentage.
Tournament Scores Par Rank
HBU Men’s Intercollegiate (ind.) 66-68-70=204 -9 1st/52
Royal Oaks Intercollegiate 72-68-71=211 -2 t13th/78
Amelia Island Intercollegiate 73-70-69=212 -4 5th/83
John A. Burns Intercollegiate 76-68-69=213 -3 t8th/105
Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate 71-74-71=216 E t21st/120
Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters 74-76-81=231 +15 t56th/78
Morris Williams Intercollegiate 73-74-73=220 +7 t26th/72
All-American Intercollegiate (ind.) 71-70-72=213 -3 t10th/81
Aggie Invitational 81-77-70=228 +12 t20th/70
Big 12 Championship 78-73-75-75=301 +13 t20th/50
NCAA Bowling Green Regional 76-74-74=224 +8 t35th/75
2011-12 Tourney-by-Tourney Lineups
Lone Star Invitational Dunlap Peck Russell Scott Veerman
U.S. Collegiate Champ. Dunlap Peck Russell Cochran Veerman
Royal Oaks Intercollegiate Yates Peck Russell Shaw Veerman
Amelia Island Int'coll. Yates Peck Russell Shaw Veerman
Burns Intercollegiate Dunlap Peck Russell Shaw Yates
Wyoming Desert Int'coll. Dunlap Peck Russell Shaw Yates
Southern Highlands Dunlap Peck Russell Scott Yates
Morris Williams Int'coll. Dunlap Peck Russell Scott Yates
Hootie at Bulls Bay Dunlap Peck Russell Shaw Evans
All-American Int'coll. Dunlap Peck Russell Shaw Veerman
Aggie Invitational Cochran Dunlap Peck Russell Shaw Yates
Big 12 Championship Dunlap Veerman Russell Shaw Yates
NCAA Regional Dunlap Veerman Russell Shaw Yates
2012 NCAA REGIONAL RECAP
Aggies Finish Second at Bowling Green Regional
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (May 23, 2012)—Texas A&M earned its fifth straight trip to the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish on Saturday afternoon at the NCAA Bowling Green Regional.
The Aggies wrapped up the weekend with a 4-under 860 (295-278-287), one shot back of champion Chattanooga and one of just three teams to break par.
"We played fabulously again today," head coach J.T. Higgins said. "The course was tougher today, the greens were really firmed up and they were quicker with really difficult pin locations. It was set up as hard as you can set it up and the boys really responded well. They played great. It was a tough loss, but Chattanooga played great. I thought we had a really, really successful regional. The goal was to advance and we accomplished that-we're now just looking forward to getting to L.A. and making another run at a national championship."
The Mocs took the team crown by turning in the best round of the day, a 4-under, and were led by medalist Stephan Jaeger who went 13-under for the week.
"Jaeger shot 67, 66 in the last two rounds, and it's tough to beat a team when someone is playing that well," Higgins said. "They had three chip-ins and a hole-in-one, and we lost by a shot. You just have to tip your hat to them and hopefully we'll get them next week in L.A."
The top-seed, UCLA, finished third at 1-under, with a distant Virginia Tech (+10) and Memphis (+12) grabbing the final two qualifying spots. Arkansas (+15) missed the cut by three strokes, while North Texas (+16), Northwestern (+17), Iowa State (+22), Colorado State (+22), Clemson (+23), Jacksonville State (+45), Penn (+62) and Alabama State (+106) rounded out the field.
True freshman Ty Dunlap led the way for the second straight postseason tournament, finishing in a tie for third place after shooting a 5-under 211 (71-70-70).
"Ty was second at Big 12s and third at regionals as a true freshman, and you can't say enough about his performance," Higgins said. "He made a 15-footer for birdie on 18 that actually tied it and forced Jaeger to make a birdie putt to beat us by one. I was pretty proud of him to put the pressure on that guy to have to make a putt to win it. That was awesome."
Three other Aggies finished in the top 20, Geoff Shaw (215, -1) in 11th, Jordan Russell (218, +2) in 14th and Johannes Veerman (219, +3) in 17th. Redshirt freshman Greg Yates (224, +8) finished 35th overall.
"Geoff Shaw was just tremendous, especially the last two rounds," Higgins said. "He played his heart out and gave us everything. Once again it was a team effort...everyone was in it all the way to the end. Everyone contributed and that's what it's going to take for us to bring home another championship."
The 2009 National Champions will make their fifth consecutive and 28th all-time appearance at the NCAA finals, which are scheduled for May 29-June 3 in Pacific Palisades, California. Among all collegiate programs, only Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and USC have finished in the top 15 in each of the last four years. Teams will play three rounds of stroke play, with the top eight then advancing to match play to determine the national champion.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: A LOOK BACK
STILLWATER, Okla. (June 2, 2011)—Texas A&M sophomore Cameron Peck set a school record with a third-place finish, but the Aggies fell one spot shy of moving on to match play on Thursday at the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships at Karsten Creek.
Peck (Olympia, Wash.) fired a 1-under 215 (68-74-73) for the week to finish higher than any Aggie has before at the event. He placed four shots back of the medalist, John Peterson of LSU (-5), in a five-way tie for third.
As a team, A&M missed out on advancing to the quarterfinals by the slimmest of margins--one stroke--finishing ninth with a 26-over 890 (289-301-300). Moving on to match play were UCLA (+8), Georgia Tech (+11), Oklahoma State (+15), Illinois (+15), Georgia (+20), Ohio State (+23), Augusta State (+24) and Duke (+25). The Aggies, however, will end their season with their second top-10 finish in three seasons and eighth overall in program history.
"Golf's just the cruelest game," head coach J.T. Higgins said. "You hit 900 shots, and it comes down to one. Every guy on our team can count 10 places where they could have shaved a shot. It's just heartbreaking when it doesn't go your way. With that said, this is just greatest group of guys I ever had the honor of coaching. They should hold their heads high. They were champions, and we just came out a shot short. It's very hard to swallow. They had a fantastic year, they did everything right and they represented our school fantastically."
Individually, senior Nacho Elvira went 1-over on the day and finished the week in 32nd place with a 6-over 222 (72-77-73). Junior Jordan Russell carded a 9-over 225 (73-77-75) to finish tied for 56th, senior Conrad Shindler tied for 88th with a 13-over 229 (73-77-79), while senior John Hurley finished in a tie for 135th (76-81-84=241).
Two program records fell as the Aggies closed out the year this week. Russell wrapped the season with a 71.59 stroke average--the lowest in program history--while the 2010-11 team's stroke average of 287.12 is the lowest ever recorded by an Aggie squad.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (June 3, 2010)—The The Texas A&M men’s golf team ended its 2009-10 season with a 13th place finish on Thursday at the NCAA Championships at The Honors Course.
Needing a huge rally to get back in the top eight mix, the Aggies fired a 6-under par 282 to give themselves a chance. With four players at par or better on Thursday, the Aggies’ final round 282 was the second-lowest round of the day. In the end, however, the Aggies missed the playoff for the eighth spot by three strokes.
“I am really proud of them,” Aggie head coach J.T. Higgins said. “Two rounds under par on this golf course is fantastic. It is just a shame that yesterday was so bad. Whatever we did went wrong. We could not get anything to go our way. It was just one of those days. Then to come back and play this well after a day like that, just shows what kind of guys they are. They are champions through and through.”
A playoff between Stanford, Arizona State and San Diego, who all tied at 4-over, will determine the eight qualifiers on Friday morning . Qualifying for match play were Oklahoma State (-14), Florida State (-10), Georgia Tech (-6), Washington (-4), Oregon (-3), Augusta State (-1) and Texas Tech (+3).
Junior Nacho Elvira and freshman Cameron Peck were the Aggies’ top individual finishers in a tie for 18th place at two-under. Elvira closed with 3-under 69 (70-75-69=214), while Peck posted his third straight par or better round with an even-par 72 (70-72-72=214). Senior Andrea Pavan shot a 1-over 73 and tied for 67th at 4-over (71-76-73=220). Junior Conrad Shindler shot an even-par 72 and tied for 134th at 11-over (74-81-72=227). Sophomore Jordan Russell fired a 3-under 69 and finished in a tie for 154th (79-82-69=230).
2009 Recap: Stroke Play
TOLEDO, Ohio (May 28, 2009)—Conrad Shindler shot an even-par 71 on Thursday as Texas A&M held on to advance to the final eight at the NCAA Men's Golf Championship at Inverness Golf Club.
The Aggies (298-276-295=869) tied for seventh in stroke play to move on to Friday's match play quarterfinals. The winners will advance to Friday afternoon's semifinals followed by the championship match on Saturday.
A&M started Thursday's round in third place, but quickly slipped out of the top eight after going 10-over through the first 10 holes. Shindler helped bring the Aggies back with an eagle on the par-5 13th after he nailed a 194-yard seven iron approach to within a foot of the flag. He followed with a birdie on the 14th to get back to even and parred in. Shindler had a his first career hole-in-one in Tuesday's opening round.
Shindler (75-68-71=214) tied for 13th, the highest individual finish by an Aggie since Danny Briggs placed eighth in 1982. The only other top-10 finish at nationals by an A&M player came in 1972, when Steve Veriato placed 10th.
As a team, the Aggies played the final eight holes in just one over. A&M and Georgia finished four strokes ahead of TCU, which placed ninth and missed the cut.
A&M's Bronson Burgoon (72-67-76=215) tied for 18th, John Hurley (75-69-74=218) tied for 31st, Andrea Pavan (76-72-74=222) tied for 62nd and Matt Van Zandt (76-76-77=229) tied for 121st.
2009 Recap: National Championship
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP/May 30, 2009)—Texas A&M's Bronson Burgoon hit a 125-yard gap wedge from the rough to within three inches of the 18th hole Saturday to win his match and clinch the first NCAA Division I men's golf title for the Aggies.
Burgoon, a senior and the team's No. 1 player, had lost the previous four holes to Arkansas' Andrew Landry before his dramatic shot from the deep rough far to the right of the 18th fairway at Inverness Golf Club. Golfweek magazine called it “one of the best shots in college golf history.”
“Our assistant coach (Jonathan Dismuke) told me to hit it at this rail, and it just kept feeding right down to the hole,” Burgoon said. “Right when it cleared the hill, I knew it was going to go down pretty close to the hole.”
Landry conceded the tap-in for birdie, then missed a 35-footer that would have sent the match to extra holes. A&M won, 3 and 2.
“I was struggling the last four holes,” Burgoon said. “I put more pressure on myself than I should have. The last hole something happened for me and seemed to click. I couldn’t have drawn it up any better. I love this team. That was the hardest thing when it was slipping away. I was more discouraged for the guys on the team than for myself. To finish off my senior year with a national championship is incredible. I couldn’t be happier.”
John Hurley and Andrea Pavan won their matches for the Aggies, who had never finished better than fourth, in 1982, despite having qualified for the national tournament 24 times. It was A&M’s first NCAA title in any sport since the softball team won in 1987. Jamie Marshall and Jason Cuthbertson won matches for the Razorbacks, who also were chasing their first title.
With the match all square heading to the 18th, Landry drove into the middle of the fairway. Burgoon, as he did most of the back nine, drove far to the right into deep rough just above three deep pot bunkers on a hill bordering the edge of the fairway. Landry spun a wedge just onto the green, the ball coming to rest on the first cut.
Burgoon walked up to take a look at the pin placement with Dismuke and sized up the shot. He muscled the gap wedge to the right-middle of the green, and the ball slowly rolled left toward the hole. As it rolled ever closer, a crescendo of cheers rose from the crowd.
His teammates jumped for joy and shouted as Landry conceded the birdie putt. Landry measured his lengthy birdie putt with his coach before rolling it left of the hole. Before it stopped rolling, the Aggies were jumping atop each other and slapping high-fives in celebration.
“Bronson dominated his matches and played great golf all week,” A&M Head Coach J.T. Higgins said. “He told me earlier this week that he wanted to be on 18 with a chance to win the national championships coming up the last fairway. What a way to come through. That’s all I said to him on 18. I wouldn’t rather have anybody else playing this hole than you right now even after losing four straight. I knew he was a clutch performer. I knew he’d come through and he did. I’m so proud of him.”
Pavan dominated from the start in beating David Lingmerth, 7 and 6. Hurley also posted a quick win, beating Ethan Tracy, 6 and 4. But then things tightened up when Arkansas' Marshall defeated Conrad Shindler, 3 and 2. Cuthbertson took a 3-and-1 victory over Matt Van Zandt, who was the star of A&M's 3½-1½ victory over Michigan in the semifinals.
Burgoon seemed to be in command of his match. He led 2-up at the turn and built his advantage to 4-up through 13 holes. Landry began playing near-perfect golf and Burgoon seemed to find trouble off almost every tee.
Burgoon hit into a bunker on an adjoining fairway and made bogey at 14, with Landry two-putting for par to cut his lead to 3-up. Burgoon had to hit from the rough on his second shot at the 15th and pulled his approach into more of the thick stuff. He shouted, "Oh, my gosh!" as the ball left his club face. Again Landry two-putted for a par to win the hole, cutting his deficit to two holes.
The gallery grew as the other matches ended. By the time the two players moved to the 16th green, there were several hundred fans traipsing along after the twosome, shouting encouragement and ringing the greens. Landry used two putts from 40 feet for par at 16 and Burgoon barely missed his par putt from 25 feet. Now his lead was just 1-up.
At 17, Burgoon hit through the fairway and had an awkward stance, chopping the ball to just short of the green. But he chipped the ball 10 feet past the pin. Again Landry hit the green in regulation and made a routine par. Again Burgoon missed the par putt, forcing a showdown on the final hole.