Ooltewah, Tenn. -
The 19th-ranked Virginia men's golf team capped off its finest showing at the NCAA Championships by finishing 11th in the 30-team field. The Cavaliers tied 13th-ranked Florida at 5-over 869 after 54 holes of play. UVa missed being in a multiple-team playoff for the final spot to advance to the match play portion of the tournament by a single stroke.
Virginia shot 1-over 289 during the final round to help UVa to its equal its best-ever NCAA finish. By virtue of finishing in the top 12, the Cavaliers will receive an invitation to next year's Fall Preview tournament, which will be held at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., the site of the 2011 NCAA Championships.
"It was a good week for us," said Virginia coach Bowen Sargent. "The guys played well. I'm very proud of them. They did a great job. It is a cruel game. When it comes down to a single shot after you hit it 869 times, it can be a very tough game. It was a tough day out with a lot of pressure and our guys did a great job of hanging in there. We could have made that playoff just as easily as we missed it."
Second-ranked Stanford, No. 16 Arizona State and No. 25 San Diego State all tied for eighth place at 4-over 868, one shot ahead of the Cavaliers. The top eight teams following three rounds of stroke play advance to head-to-head match play to determine the national champion. Those three teams will compete in a playoff to break the eighth-place tie Friday morning.
Oklahoma State finished on top of the leaderboard after stroke play at 14-under 850. Florida State was second at 854 and Georgia Tech was third at 858. Also advancing to match play was Washington (860), Oregon (861), Augusta State (863) and Texas Tech (867).
Will Collins led UVa with a 25th place finish at 1-under 215. He shot 71 during the final round. His performance was the best by a Cavalier at the NCAAs since James Driscoll placed ninth in 2000. Collins has now been UVa's top finisher at the NCAAs for three consecutive years. He was 96th in 2009 and 39th in 2008.
Playing his final collegiate round, senior Kyle Stough was 34th overall at even par 216. He had a 1-over 73 Thursday. Ben Kohles used a final round 1-under 71 to move up to 51st place at 2-over 218. Henry Smart, who tied The Honors Course competitive round record with a 6-under 66 during the second round, finished 111th at 10-over 226. He shot 78 during the final round. Amory Davis, who finished strong with a 2-over 74, was 146th at 233.
"Barring the first four holes of the tournament, when we were sitting eight over, we played the rest of the tournament just about as well as anyone else," Sargent said. "We have four of these guys back next year, so the plan is to reload and to get after it again next year."
The tournament's individual champion was Illinois' Scott Langley who shot back-to-back 68s over the final two rounds to finish at 10-under 206.
The match play portion of the tournament is scheduled to start Saturday following the three-team playoff and will run through Sunday.
The Honors Course
Par 72, 7,395 yards
Third Round Results
1. Oklahoma State 283-284-283-850
2. Florida State 283-279-292-854
3. Georgia Tech 290-282-286-858
4. Washington 289-288-283-860
5. Oregon 284-294-283-861
6. Augusta State 287-288-288-863
7. Texas Tech 302-285-280-867
8. Stanford 292-288-288-868
8. Arizona State 286-292-290-868
8. San Diego 294-282-292-868
11. Virginia 300-280-289-869
11. Florida 287-289-293-869
13. Texas A&M 285-304-282-871
14. North Florida 292-293-287-872
15. USC 295-290-289-874
16. Oregon State 295-293-287-875
16. Clemson 286-291-298-875
16. UCLA 294-286-295-875
19. Illinois 304-285-287-876
20. Kent State 292-293-292-877
21. UNLV 294-292-293-879
22. Texas 290-296-293-879
23. California 293-294-293-880
24. LSU 303-290-290-883
25. Baylor 294-295-295-884
25. Tennessee 297-292-295-884
27. Duke 296-297-296-889
27. TCU 302-296-291-889
29. Penn State 301-298-299-898
30. Georgia Southern 297-299-309-905
1. Scott Langley, Illinois 70-68-68-206
2. Alex Ching, San Diego 69-66-73-208
2. Peter Uihlein, Oklahoma State 69-68-71-208
4. Diego Velasquez, Oregon State 71-72-66-209
5. Henrik Norlander, Augusta State 68-69-73-210
6. John Hahn, Kent State 72-70-69-211
6. Drew Kittleson, Florida State 70-70-71-211
6. Gregor Main, UCLA 71-69-71-211
6. John Peterson, LSU 73-68-70-211
25. Will Collins 74-70-71-215
34. Kyle Stough 74-69-73-216
51. Ben Kohles 72-75-71-218
111. Henry Smart 82-66-78-226
146. Amory Davis 80-79-74-233