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

By Ryan LavnerMay 16, 2018, 11:17 pm

The NCAA Division I men’s regionals wrapped up Wednesday 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 final 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:

Winner (click here for full team scores): Texas (-39)

Runner-up: Duke (-22)

Also moving on: N.C. State (-21), Augusta (-20), Arizona State (-18)

Better luck next year: Georgia Tech (-17), Middle Tennessee State (-16), California (-7)

Medalist (click here for full individual scores): Doug Ghim, Texas (-17)

Advancing individual: Pontus Nyholm, Campbell

Skinny: The top two seeds in this regional failed to make it through. Georgia Tech became just the third top seed that failed to advance to the NCAA Championship. The Yellow Jackets were the fourth-ranked team in the country, and they entered the postseason as one of the squads that could challenge Oklahoma State, 1 thru 5, but now they won’t be able to get the opportunity. Cal also had a disappointing end to its season, traveling across the country and finishing 10th. Junior Collin Morikawa, the top-ranked player in Golfstat’s individual rankings, also won’t be at nationals, after he failed to earn the lone spot awarded to the low individual on a non-advancing team. … Augusta became the second 12 seed to advance to the NCAA Championship. It’s some cool symmetry for the Jaguars: This is their first NCAA berth since 2011, the year that Patrick Reed led them to the national title – at Karsten Creek. They shot 14 under, the second-lowest round of the day, to make it through. … Texas won for the first time all season, powered by a 28-under effort from medalist Doug Ghim and Scottie Scheffler, who finished fourth. Ghim, who shared medalist honors at Big 12s, is now a serious contender for not just the Hogan Award but also the Haskins Award.

Kissimmee regional, at Reunion Resort:

Winner (click here for full team scores): Florida (-42)

Runner-up: UCF (-30)

Also moving on: Vanderbilt (-22), North Carolina (-21), Kent State (-20)

Better luck next year: Arizona (-18), Colorado State (-16), South Florida (-12)

Medalist (click here for full individual scores): Andy Zhang, Florida (-13)

Advancing individual: George Cunningham, Arizona

Skinny: The Gators set a school-record with a 42-under performance, avenging last year’s disappointing performance, when they failed to advance out of regionals as the top seed. … Top-seeded Vanderbilt entered the final round in a three-way tie for fifth, a coach’s worst nightmare, but the Commodores closed with an 11-under round just to keep pace in this low-scoring regional. … Host UCF was playing an hour from its campus, but the Knights took advantage of more than 15 practice rounds at Reunion to advance as the 10 seed. … South Florida plummeted four spots on the leaderboard, into eighth, after shooting 1 over on the final day – the only over-par round in the top 11. … Florida’s Zhang won his second consecutive start, after also capturing the SEC Championship.

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

Winner (click here for full team scores): Oklahoma State (-8)

Runner-up: Illinois (E)

Also moving on: UNLV (+15), Northwestern (+16), Texas Tech (+18)

Better luck next year: Penn State (+25), Michigan State (+32), Wake Forest (+35)

Medalist (click here for full individual scores): Kyle Mueller, Michigan (-5)

Advancing individual: Mueller

Skinny: Oklahoma State showed why it’s the best team in the country, with all five Cowboys finishing inside the top 19 individually. Standout freshman Matthew Wolff finished runner-up for the fourth time this season. … Illinois seems to be trending in the right direction. After winning the Big Ten title, the Illini had four counters finish inside the top 10 individually and hung tough with Oklahoma State on the most difficult regional course. … Texas Tech grabbed the fifth and final spot despite first-team All-American Fredrik Nilehn, who had missed the last three events with a back injury, shooting 13 over par. … On the final day, there was no movement among the top 8 on the leaderboard.

Bryan regional, at Traditions Club:

Winner (click here for full team scores): Texas A&M (-27)

Runner-up: Clemson (-18)

Also moving on: Baylor (-7), UCLA (+2), Kentucky (+10)

Better luck next year: Ole Miss (+13), South Carolina (+18)

Medalist (click here for full individual scores): Chandler Phillips, Texas A&M (-11)

Advancing individual: Braden Thornberry, Ole Miss

Skinny: The Aggies took care of business on their home course, while Clemson is headed back to Karsten Creek, where they won the NCAA title in the early 2000s. … Baylor coach Mike McGraw will also be returning to Stillwater, Okla., where he coached the team for several years but was fired a few years ago. … The most drama came for the fifth and final spot. Ole Miss was in position, but the Rebels shot 10 over in the final round. That included their top two starters playing the last two holes in 6 over par, allowing Kentucky to slide inside the cut line – but not without some drama. Senior leader Chip McDaniel went out in 40 on Wednesday, but he made four birdies coming home and then, needing just a par on the last to secure the Wildcats’ spot, dunked his 118-yard approach for a closing eagle to move on. … At least one Ole Miss player will be at nationals – Braden Thornberry earned the individual spot and now will have a chance to defend his NCAA title.  

Norman regional, at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club:

Winner (click here for full team scores): Oklahoma (-14)

Runners-up: BYU and North Florida (-13)

Also moving on: Auburn and Arkansas (-3)

Better luck next year: Florida State (-2), Virginia (-1), Pepperdine (E)

Medalist (click here for full individual scores): Travis Trace, North Florida (-11)

Advancing individual: Joshua McCarthy, Pepperdine

Skinny: The Sooners appear on a collision course with rival Oklahoma State, after winning their fourth title in their past five starts. Blaine Hale and Quade Cummins did the heavy lifting with a rare off-week from star Brad Dalke. … BYU will create some logistical issues for the NCAA Championship after a tie for second in this regional. The Cougars don’t play on Sundays, so now they will contest their third round on Thursday – the practice-round day for the other 29 teams in the field – which creates some concerns about competitiveness fairness. … Arkansas played its last five holes in 7 under to steal the fifth and final spot. … Pepperdine ended its wild week by finishing outside the cut line. The Waves went from ninth to second to eighth.

Stockton regional, at The Reserve at Spanos Park

Winner (click here for full team scores): Kansas (-20)

Runner-up: Stanford (-19)

Also moving on: Iowa State (-17), Alabama (-15), Oregon (-12)

Better luck next year: LSU (-7), Colorado (-2), TCU (+1), Southern Cal (+3)

Medalist (click here for full individual scores): Norman Xiong, Oregon (-15)

Advancing individual: Charles Corner, Texas El Paso

Skinny: LSU joins Georgia Tech as a top seed that failed to advance. That had happened only once in the six-regional setup prior to last year. Now, it’s happened three times in the past two years. … Kansas was an 8 seed that earned its first NCAA berth since 2000; Iowa State was a sneaky 10 seed that entered regionals with two wins in its past four starts. … Alabama advanced despite having only two players finish inside the top 35 individually. Wilson Furr and Jonathan Hardee were 17 under. … The Player of the Year race just got blown open, after USC’s Justin Suh (and the team) failed to advance to the NCAA Championship. Suh’s loss might be Oregon’s Xiong’s gain, however, after the Ducks sophomore won for the sixth time. Entering nationals, he’s the favorite to win the Haskins Award.

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Paisley (61) leads Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Tour Championship.

The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

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“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

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Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”

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Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:01 pm

ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.

Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.

Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.

Current FedExCup standings

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“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”

Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.

“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.