Final results: NCAA men's golf regionals

By Ryan LavnerMay 16, 2015, 10:16 pm

The NCAA Division I men’s regionals wrapped up Saturday at six sites around the country. The low five teams in each regional after advanced to the May 29-June 3 NCAA Championship at Concession Golf Club in Florida.

Here are the final results from the Chapel Hill (N.C.), Noblesville (Ind.), Yale (Conn.), Lubbock (Texas), San Diego (Calif.) and Bremerton (Wash.) regionals:

Chapel Hill Regional, at Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill, N.C.:

Winner: Charlotte (-19)

Runner-up: Stanford (-14)

Rest of the top 5: Florida State (-11), Florida (-9) and Clemson (-5)

Left out: Kennesaw State (+2), North Carolina (+6), Wake Forest (+10)

Medalist: Maverick McNealy, Stanford (-9)

Skinny: Only two of the top five seeds advanced out of this regional. Charlotte benefited from the short travel and prior experience at Finley Golf Course to clinch its first NCAA finals berth since 2008. ... Maverick McNealy's two-shot win was his sixth victory of the season, making him a virtual lock for NCAA Player of the Year. ... UNC became just the fifth host team in the past six years that failed to qualify for the NCAA Championship. J.T. Poston of Western Carolina won on the second playoff hole to earn the individual spot out of this regional. 

New Haven Regional, at The Course at Yale in New Haven, Conn.:

Winner: South Florida (-14)

Runner-up: San Diego State (E) 

Rest of the top 5: Oklahoma State (+2), Vanderbilt (+4), LSU (+9)

Left out: Iowa (+10), N.C. State (+10), Arkansas (+31)

Medalist: Jordan Niebrugge, Oklahoma State (-7)

Skinny: Four of the top five seeds advanced out of this regional, but not without some late drama. SEC champion LSU staged a furious final-round rally, shooting 12-under 268 to sneak into the top five, by one shot over other programs. Ben Taylor and Brandon Pierce each shot 65s for the Tigers. … Jordan Niebrugge’s second-round 62 helped put Oklahoma State in position to earn a finals berth, then Brendon Jelley carded a 65 Saturday to seal the deal. … South Florida, now a four-time winner, is the host school at the NCAAs later this month.

Noblesville Regional, at Sagamore Golf Club in Noblesville, Ind:

Winner: Illinois and SMU (-4)

Rest of the top 5: UNLV (-1), UCLA (+5), Oregon (+7)

Left out: Colorado (+15), Alabama (+18), Virginia Tech (+30) 

Medalist: Brian Campbell, Illinois (-10) 

Skinny: Four of the top five seeds advanced out of this regional. The one that did not was a big one – Alabama, the two-time defending NCAA champion. The Tide finished 11 shots back of the all-important fifth spot. … It was a heartbreaking exit for first-round leader Colorado, which followed an opening 277 with rounds of 300 and 302 (+14). … UNLV shot a Saturday-best, 10-under 278 to move off the bubble. ... Brian Campbell made eight birdies during a final-round 65 that gave him the individual title, by three shots. … Colorado’s David Oraee earned the individual spot in this regional.  

Lubbock Regional, at the Rawls Course in Lubbock, Texas:

Winner: Texas (-22)

Runner-up: Texas Tech (-18) 

Rest of the top 5: Duke (-8), Auburn (-7), Houston (-5)

Left out: Purdue (-5), Cal (-4), Louisville (E)

Medalist: Blair Hamilton, Houston and Clement Sordet, Texas Tech (-8)

Skinny: Texas overtook host Texas Tech to win the team title, its sixth win in its last seven spring tournaments. Gavin Hall recorded his second consecutive runner-up finish. … A birdie from Kyle Pilgrim on the first extra hole was enough to give Houston the fifth and final spot in a team playoff over Purdue. … Auburn moved safely inside the bubble with strong performances from Nos. 4 and 5 men Daniel Stringfellow and Ryan Denton. They were the only Tigers to break par on the final day. … Louisville’s Robin Sciot-Siegrist defeated Cal’s K.K. Limbhasut on the first playoff hole to earn the individual spot out of this regional. 

Bremerton Regional, at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Wash.: 

Winner: UAB (-21)

Runner-up: South Carolina (-19)

Rest of the top 5: USC (-17), TCU (-10), Washington (-10)

Left out: Baylor (-2), Michigan (-1), Iowa State (+5)

Medalist: Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington (-13)

Skinny: Four of the top five seeds advanced out of this regional. UAB had two players finish inside the top-6 individually, including Martin Rohwer, who finished in a tie for second. … Top seed South Carolina got off the final-round bubble with a Saturday-best 14-under 274 that moved the Gamecocks all the way to second place. … Washington’s home-course advantage finally paid off in the final round, as the Huskies shot 277 with all four scorers at par or better, including Cheng-Tsung Pan’s medalist-clinching 65. … Baylor, ranked 18th in the country, was on the wrong side of the bubble after shooting 1 over in the final round. … 

San Diego Regional, at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.:

Winner: Oklahoma (-21) 

Runner-up: Arizona State (+1) 

Rest of the top 5: Georgia Tech (+5), Georgia (+6), Virginia (+10) 

Left out: Wichita State (+12), East Tennessee State (+16), New Mexico (+22)

Medalist: Jon Rahm, Arizona State (-10)

Skinny: Oklahoma kept right on rolling in the final round as the Sooners won their first regional title since 2001. This was their third victory of the season. … After a terrible opening round, Georgia battled back with with rounds of 278 and 285 to move safely inside the cut line. … It was a rough finish for Est Tennessee State, which began the final round in fourth place but short the second-worst score of the day Saturday (297) to fall to seventh. … Arizona State junior Jon Rahm earned medalist honors at the regional, his fourth victory of the season. It was his seventh all time, and he now trails only Phil Mickelson and Billy Mayfair on ASU’s all-time list. 

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.