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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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.