Men's regionals: Which teams are in, out for NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 18, 2016, 10:28 pm

The NCAA Division I men’s regionals wrapped up Wednesday at six sites around the country. The low five teams in each regional after 54 holes advanced to the May 27-June 1 NCAA Championship at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club.

Here are the final results from the Franklin (Tenn.), Tuscaloosa (Ala.), Kohler (Wis.), Stillwater (Okla.), Albuquerque (N.M.) and Tucson (Ariz.) regionals:

Franklin Regional, at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn.:

Winner: Texas (-45)

Runner-up: Vanderbilt (-34)

Rest of the top 5: Houston (-25), LSU (-25), Virginia (-22)

Better luck next year: Washington (-21), Kennesaw State (-17), East Carolina (-15), Pepperdine (-1)

Medalist: Michael Perras, Houston (-16)

Individual advancing: Ryan Cole, James Madison

Skinny: There were plenty of low scores at this site, but none were better than the No. 1-ranked Longhorns, who led from start to finish over the three days. Doug Ghim was second individually, while Gavin Hall, Taylor Funk and Beau Hossler also finished inside the top 10. Host Vanderbilt saved its best round of the week for the finale, a 20-under 268 that ended any suspense on the bubble. Defending NCAA champion LSU took the fourth spot, while Virginia’s Jimmy Stanger birdied the final hole to push the Cavaliers into the finals and knock out Washington. 

Tuscaloosa Regional, at Ol’ Colony Golf Course in Tuscaloosa, Ala.:

Winner: Georgia (-16)

Runner-up: South Carolina (-12)

Rest of the top 5: Alabama (-7), Kentucky (-6), Auburn (+3)

Better luck next year: UNLV (+11), College of Charleston (+23), Colorado (+26), Kansas (+50)

Medalist: Greyson Sigg, Georgia (-9)

Individual advancing: William Rainey, College of Charleston

Skinny: It turned out like the SEC Championship, with all five SEC schools advancing out of this regional. Georgia, a semifinalist a year ago, cruised to the team title by four shots over South Carolina. Playing on its home course, Alabama had a stress-free third-place finish, behind the play of Davis Riley (T-4) and Robby Shelton (T-10). Four of the top five seeds moved on, the lone exception being UNLV, which finished eight shots out of the final spot. Kentucky, the No. 6 seed, finished fourth.  

Kohler Regional, at Blackwolf Run’s Meadow Valley in Kohler, Wis.:

Winner: Illinois (-11)

Runners-up: Florida and Arkansas (-7)

Rest of the top 5: Florida State (-6), Baylor (-6)

Better luck next year: Idaho (E), Memphis (+5), East Tennessee State (+5), Penn State (+10)

Medalist: Tee-k Kelly, Ohio State (-7)

Individual advancing: Kelly

Skinny: Chalk prevailed in this regional, though it wasn’t without a few surprises along the way. After a slow start, Illini kicked into gear in the final round to leapfrog Florida and earn its eighth team title of the season. After spending the first two rounds in the coveted top five, Idaho was passed on the last day by red-hot Baylor, which shot a final-round-best 14-under 274 to steal the fifth and final qualifying spot. Matthew Perrine (T-10) birdied four of his last five holes, while Braden Bailey (T-5) came home in 33 for the Bears. UCLA’s NCAA-best streak of 14 consecutive finals appearances came to an end with its 10th-place finish.

Stillwater Regional, at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.:

Winner: Oklahoma State (+7)

Runner-up: Oklahoma (+26)

Rest of the top 5: Clemson (+37), Louisville (+43), Purdue (+46)

Better luck next year: Augusta (+48), Northwestern (+58), Duke (+59), Michigan State (+60)

Medalist: Kristoffer Ventura, Oklahoma State (E)

Individual advancing: Antoine Rozner, Missouri-Kansas City

Skinny: As expected, the two Oklahoma schools (including the host Cowboys) sailed into the NCAA finals without any drama, as well as ACC champion Clemson. Louisville, the No. 10 seed, grabbed the fourth spot after placing three players inside the top 20 individually, while Purdue, on the strength of Luis Fernando Barco’s T-10, edged out Augusta for the fifth spot.

Tucson Regional, at The Gallery at Dove Mountain in Tucson, Ariz.:

Winner: Stanford (-31)

Runner-up: Oregon (-17)

Rest of the top 5: UAB (-7), California (-2), Wake Forest (-1)

Better luck next year: UC Riverside (+2), North Florida (+3), Georgia Tech (+3), North Carolina (+51)

Medalist: Franklin Huang, Stanford (-12)

Individual advancing: Matt Lutz, UC Riverside

Skinny: There isn’t a hotter team in the country than Stanford. At regionals, the Cardinal picked up another big victory, their third in a row, behind Huang and McNealy, who finished 1-2 individually. In the final round, Oregon played like a team that wanted to get back home for NCAAs, shooting a best-of-the-day 274 to finish second. Sophomore Aaron Wise will be one of the favorites for the individual title on his home course, where he also won the Pacific Coast Amateur last summer. California counted four rounds of par or better Wednesday to send retiring coach Steve Desimone to one last finals, while UAB, the No. 7 seed, used a hot first round to stay inside the top-5 bubble.

Albuquerque Regional, at the University of New Mexico’s Championship Course in Albuquerque, N.M.:

Winner: Arizona State (+12)

Runner-up: TCU (+24)

Rest of the top 5: Southern Cal (+31), South Florida (+35), San Diego State/Texas A&M (+40)

Better luck next year: Texas Tech (+43), New Mexico (+43), N.C. State (+65)

Medalist: Jon Rahm, Arizona State (-4)

Skinny: Arizona State, which hadn’t claimed a team title all season, picked a great time to nab its first. Behind Rahm, their senior leader, the Sun Devils led wire to wire to breeze into the NCAA finals. It’s an important victory for Rahm, who now has four titles this season, including victories at the conference championship and regionals – which neither of the other Haskins Award contenders, Stanford’s Maverick McNealy and Texas’ Hossler, can put on their resumes. Despite a rocky week, USC, last year’s finalists, moved on to Eugene, as did South Florida, which traveled all the way west for its regional tournament. There was a playoff for the fifth and final spot between San Diego State and Texas A&M. In the team playoff, San Diego State’s Gunn Yang, the 2014 U.S. Amateur champion who has virtually disappeared, made an albatross on the first hole to push the Aztecs into the national championship. (San Diego State, which made three birdies on the final hole in regulation just to catch Texas A&M, was 5 under on that hole in the playoff.) New Mexico was the only host team that did not advance to the NCAA finals; the Lobos finished seventh, three shots off the cut line. TCU, which was ranked 52nd in the country and had just finished eighth at Big 12s, placed second at regionals, Paul Barjon and Ryan Books tied for third individually.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry