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Men's regionals: Who's in, out for NCAAs?

By Ryan LavnerMay 15, 2018, 6:42 pm

The NCAA Division I men’s regionals continued Tuesday at six sites around the country. The top five teams and low individual on a non-advancing team will advance to the May 25-30 NCAA Championship at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.

Here are the second-round results from the Raleigh (N.C.), Kissimmee (Fla.), Columbus (Ohio), Bryan (Texas), Norman (Okla.) and Stockton (Calif.) regionals:

Raleigh regional, at Lonnie Poole Golf Course:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Texas (-24)

Second place: N.C. State (-16)

Also in position: Duke (-15), Georgia Tech (-15), Liberty (-11)

Work to do: Arizona State (-9), Middle Tennessee State (-7), Missouri (-5), California (+1)

Individual leader (click here for full individual scores): Doug Ghim, Texas (-12)

Skinny: A 64-66 start by Doug Ghim has Texas in position for its first victory of the season. Benjamin Shipp fired a second-round 64 to give host N.C. State a good chance to advance on its home course; it’d be the Wolfpack’s first NCAA berth as a team since 2011. Top-seeded Georgia Tech will enter the final round just four shots clear of the top-5 cut line, despite having four of their five starters in the top 25 individually. Duke shot the round of the day, a 12-under 272, led by Jake Shuman’s 64, to jump from 10th into a tie for third. The biggest disappointment in this regional has been second-seeded Cal, which is in danger of falling short of nationals for the second consecutive year. That’d be especially disappointing for Player of the Year contender Collin Morikawa, the top-ranked player in Golfstat’s rankings, who shot even par on Tuesday and is in a tie for 14th, nine shots back. If Cal is unable to advance – and that seems likely at this point, sitting in 11th place and 12 shots off the cut – then Morikawa has to shoot a low final round just to earn the individual spot, given to the low player on a non-advancing team.

Kissimmee regional, at Reunion Resort:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Florida (-25)

Second place: UCF (-20)

Also in position: Kent State (-16), South Florida (-13), Vanderbilt (-11), North Carolina (-11), Colorado State (-11)

Work to do: Arizona (-5), Purdue (-2)

Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Kyler Tate, UCF; Andy Zhang, Florida; Austin Hitt, North Carolina (all at -8)

Skinny: After last year’s brutal elimination, Florida is pacing this regional by five shots and is 14 shots clear of the cut line. Host UCF remained in solid position, while top-5 seeds Vanderbilt, North Carolina, South Florida and Kent State are all on or inside the number. It’ll be a nerve-wracking final round for Vanderbilt, the top seed in the regional and one of the country’s deepest teams. They’ve yet to click through three rounds, and now they’re in a tie for fifth with two other teams heading into the final day. Patrick Martin is the only Commodores player currently inside the top 15 individually, while team leader Theo Humphrey is treading water at T-32. Colorado State, the 8 seed, shot a second-round 277 – the second-lowest round of the day – to climb four spots and sit in the three-way tie for the all-important fifth spot. The Rams haven't earned an NCAA berth since 2011. 

Columbus regional, at Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Oklahoma State (-9)

Second place: Illinois (-6)

Also in position: UNLV (+7), Northwestern (+15), Texas Tech (+17)

Work to do: Penn State (+20), Wake Forest (+27)

Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Nick Hardy, Illinois; Matthew Wolff, Oklahoma State; Michael Feagles, Illinois; Zach Bauchou, Oklahoma State (all at -3)

Skinny: Can you tell there’s a talent gap between Oklahoma State and Illinois and the rest of the regional field? Sixteen shots separate No. 1 overall seed Oklahoma State and UNLV, which slid from second to third place on Tuesday. The Cowboys, with all five starters inside the top 15 individually, have also opened up a 28-shot cushion between themselves and the top-5 cut line, currently occupied by Texas Tech, the 3 seed that has yet to be helped much by top player Fredrik Nilehn. A first-team All-American, Nilehn missed the last three events because of a back injury, and through two rounds he’s 9 over par. Illinois has looked formidable this postseason, first winning the Big Ten Championship and then putting together a strong regional performance to hang with Oklahoma State and post four counters within the top 10 individually through 36 holes, including senior Nick Hardy and sophomore Michael Feagles. On a difficult track like Ohio State’s Scarlet Course there’s never much margin for error, but Tech will have only have a three-shot cushion on sixth place Penn State heading into cut day.   

Bryan regional, at Traditions Club:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Texas A&M (-18)

Second place: Clemson (-17)

Also in position: Baylor (-6), UCLA (E), Ole Miss (+3)

Work to do: South Carolina (+11), Kentucky (+12)

Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Chandler Phillips and Brandon Smith, Texas A&M (both at -8)

Skinny: Texas A&M is doing what it’s supposed to on its home course, setting the pace through 36 holes with both Chandler Phillips and Brandon Smith sharing the early lead. Clemson’s 12-under 276 was the round of the day, by three, flip-flopping with Baylor and putting the Tigers 27 shots clear of the top-5 cut line. Baylor couldn’t get much going on Day 2, shooting 1 over, but the Bears are still in fine position to advance. Eight shots separate SEC foes Ole Miss and South Carolina for the fifth and six shots, respectively, with Kentucky another shot behind, so there might not be much volatility on the final day. Reigning NCAA champion Braden Thornberry of Ole Miss is currently in a tie for third, one shot off the lead, along with U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman (Clemson).

Stockton regional, at The Reserve at Spanos Park

Leaders (click here for full team scores): Alabama and Iowa State (-14)

Third place: Kansas (-13)

Also in position: Stanford (-8), TCU (-7)

Work to do: Oregon (-4), Colorado (-4), LSU (E), Southern Cal (+3)

Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Brandon Wu, Stanford (-10)

Skinny: Alabama’s 280 was the low round of the day, and the Tide were powered almost single-handedly by freshman Wilson Furr, who carded a second-round, 8-under 64. Iowa State continued to impress as the 10 seed, hanging on to a share of the lead, while Kansas, the 8 seed, backed up its impressive opening round with another 6-under effort to sit comfortably in third. The Jayhawks, who finished in the top-5 in seven of their last eight events, are searching for their first NCAA berth since 2000. Two of the other top teams are in trouble. Top seed LSU enters the final round seven off the top-5 cut line. The Tigers have been in this position before, however. In 2015, they rallied from 14 shots behind on the back nine on the final day to advance out of regionals, then kept the momentum rolling and won the NCAA title. Southern Cal’s hill is even steeper. The Pac-12 champions are 10 off the cut line, in 10th place. Haskins Award favorite Justin Suh might also be costing himself a shot at Player of the Year honors. He’s tied for 34th, and barring a team comeback on the final day, he won’t qualify for the NCAA Championship, which would dissuade many voters in a tight race. Complicating matters even more for Suh is that Oregon’s Norman Xiong is only one shot back individually.

Norman regional, at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club:

Leader (click here for full team scores): Oklahoma (-9)

Second place: Pepperdine (-7)

Also in position: North Florida (-5), BYU (-3), Auburn (-3)

Work to do: Florida State (+1), Virginia (+2), Nevada (+3), San Diego State (+4), Arkansas (+5)

Individual leader (click here for full individual scores): Blaine Hale, Oklahoma (-8)

Skinny: Oklahoma continued to stay in front on its home turf, but two teams made big moves directly behind the Sooners. The first was Pepperdine, which rocketed seven spots on the leaderboard, all the way into second place, after a scorching, 14-under 274 that was triggered by Joshua McCarthy’s 65 and Sahith Theegala’s 66. BYU also jumped inside the top 5 with a second-round 278, led by Patrick Fishburn’s 66. The Cougars present an interesting dilemma for NCAA schedulers, of course, since they can’t play on Sundays, which is when the third round of stroke-play qualifying is held at the NCAA Championship. (They’d have to play by themselves, on Thursday, which is normally the practice-round day for teams.) SEC champion Auburn is also barely in the top-5 bubble, while Florida State sits just four back.

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.

Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)