PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.—Texas A&M turned in one of the best rounds of the tournament on Thursday at Riviera Country Club en route to a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship.
The Aggies shot a 1-over 285 on the day, one of only five teams to accomplish that feat all week, and finished the championship with a 27-over 879.
By placing 14th, A&M extended its streak of consecutive top-15 finishes to five, one of only two schools in the nation (USC) who have done so.
“I’m very proud of the season we had,” head coach J.T. Higgins said. “We overcame adversity all season, with injuries and the young guys who had to replace a lot of experience. These guys were phenomenal, and I’m so proud of them and so thankful for everything they did this year. I know they are disappointed now, but they know they had a fantastic year. They really represented this program and this university great, and I’m very proud of them.”
The Aggies entered the day in 20th, having to make up a 10-shot deficit to get to the eighth and final match-play qualifying spot. The strong showing did put A&M within striking distance, but the day would conclude with the team four shots shy of making the cut. Alabama (+7), UCLA (+9), Texas (+17), Cal (+19), San Diego State (+19), Washington (+20) and Oregon (+21) advanced to match play, while a playoff between Kent State (+23) and Florida State (+23) will determine the eighth and final spot beginning Friday morning.
“We are so disappointed that we came up short,” Higgins said. “We had a really great round going. The guys fought their butt off for every shot. I couldn’t have asked for more out of them. The course played every bit as tough today as it did the other two rounds. We just played with so much heart and determination, to come up short is really disappointing, but also I’m really proud of them for giving it everything they had. To come up short in these situations is just bitter and tough to handle, but it’s also what champions do. We’ll come back next year and hopefully learn from this experience.”
True freshman Ty Dunlap was A&M’s top finisher, placing 29th with a 4-over 217 (72-74-71). Senior Geoff Shaw was 37th overall with a 5-over 218 (76-72-70), while sophomore Johannes Veerman finished 50th after carding a 7-over 220 (74-74-72). Senior Jordan Russell finished the week with a 13-over 226 (76-78-72) and redshirt freshman Greg Yates closed play with a 15-over 228 (79-76-73).
Texas A&M is slated to return three from this year’s championship roster, Dunlap, Veerman and Yates, along with junior All-American Cameron Peck—who missed the postseason with a back injury.
“I’m really looking forward to the future, with Greg and Ty and Johannes,” Higgins said, “and obviously Cam will be back. I think that’s really a great core to go forward with next season. We’ve got some real talent coming in and a good group here already who will be fighting for spots. We’ve got a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to.”