NCAA men: Who's in, who's out after regionals

By Ryan LavnerMay 17, 2017, 6:28 pm

The NCAA Division I men’s regionals wrapped up Wednesday at six sites around the country. The low five teams and individual in each regional after 54 holes advanced to the May 27-31 NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.

Here are the final results from the West Lafayette (Ind.), Baton Rouge (La.), College Grove (Tenn.), Austin (Texas), Stanford (Calif.) and Sammamish (Wash.) regionals:

West Lafayette Regional, at Kampen Golf Course in West Lafayette, Ind.:

Winner: UNLV (+8)

Runner-up: Auburn (+11)

Rest of the top 5: llinois (+14), New Mexico (+16), Purdue (+18)

Better luck next year: Augusta (+21), St. Mary's (+21), Florida (+27), South Carolina (+31)

Medalists: Andrej Bevins, New Mexico; Nick Hardy, Illinois (-3)

Individual advancing: Trent Wallace, Illinois State (E)

Skinny: Brutal conditions greeted players trying to lock up one of the five spots. Perennial NCAA contender Illinois, which began the day five shots out of the all-important fifth spot, rallied to grab the third spot. Even with a horrible final round, leader New Mexico only fell to fourth. The biggest story, however, was top seed Florida tanking during the final round. The Gators, a five-time winner this season, one of the most talented teams in the country, shot 24 over in the final round – the worst score of the day, by two – and dropped from third to eighth, a stunning end to a great season. 

Austin Regional, at the University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, Texas:

Winner: Oklahoma State (-13)

Runner-up: Texas (-11)

Rest of the top 5: Iowa State (-7), Ole Miss (+2), Arizona State (+7)

Better luck next year: Wake Forest (+11), N.C. State (+12)

Medalist: Nick Voke, Iowa State (-14)

Individual advancing: Will Zalatoris, Wake Forest (-3)

Skinny: A low final round helped push the Cowboys past their rivals on the Longhorns’ home course. Tenth-ranked Wake Forest well short of the fifth spot, but it was 50th-ranked Iowa State that was the star of the week. In the final round, senior Nick Voke fired a bogey-free 61, the biggest contributor to the Cyclones’ 21 under final round to finish third. N.C. State, trying to send off retiring coach Richard Sykes with another finals appearance, finished seventh.  

College Grove Regional, at The Grove Club in College Grove, Tenn.:

Winner: UCF (-1)

Runner-up: Vanderbilt (E)

Rest of the top 5: Kennesaw State (+1), Clemson (+1), Lipscomb (+5)

Better luck next year: Troy (+13), Middle Tennessee State (+13), Texas Tech (+19), Georgia (+23)

Medalist: Dawson Armstrong, Lipscomb (-8)

Individual advancing: Cam Norman, Troy (-3)

Skinny: This regional had the most chaos, with only two of the top five seeds advancing, and yet there wasn’t any stress on the final day. No team moved inside or outside the bubble. Top seed and NCAA favorite Vanderbilt had a rough final round, allowing UCF, led by Manuel Elvira and Kyler Tate, to win the regional. Taking medalist honors was Lipscomb’s Dawson Armstrong, setting up a reunion of sorts. Two years ago, he won the Western Amateur, one of the most prestigious titles in amateur golf … at Rich Harvest Farms. 

Baton Rouge Regional, at The University Club in Baton Rouge, La.:

Winner: LSU (+2)

Runner-up: Duke (+10)

Rest of the top 5: Oregon (+15), Virginia (+17), Jacksonville (+19)

Better luck next year: Northwestesrn (+19), Kentucky (+20)

Medalist: Sam Burns, LSU (-4)

Individual advancing: Mason Overstreet, Arkansas (+2)

Skinny: The top four seeds advanced as expected, but it was Jacksonville that had the most to celebrate. The Dolphins shot the best score of the final round (1 over) and then defeated Northwestern on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff using the play-five, count-four format for the final spot. On the individual side, it was a race between Haskins favorites Wyndham Clark of Oregon and LSU’s Sam Burns, who were competing against each other in the same tournament for the first time this season. Playing on his home course, Burns came home in 41 but still won by one. To some voters, that might be viewed as a win, even if Burns now holds the season-title edge, 4-3. 


Sammamish Regional, at Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, Wash.:

Winner: Southern Cal (-3)

Runner-up: Kent State (+3)

Rest of the top 5: Florida State (+10), Alabama (+10), Penn State (+11)

Better luck next year: Texas A&M (+15), Washington (+17)

Medalist: Cole Miller, Penn State (-7)

Individual advancing: Chandler Phillips, Texas A&M (-2)

Skinny: No surprise, the Trojans showed why they are one of the favorites for the NCAA title with an impressive performance at regionals. Alabama had no trouble despite the long trip out west, while Penn State, behind medalist Miller, who earned his fifth title of the season, took advantage of a poor second round by Texas A&M to earn the fifth and final spot. 

Stanford Regional, at Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif.:

Winner: Stanford and Baylor (-17)

Rest of the top 5: Pepperdine (-5), Oklahoma (-3), North Carolina (+3)

Better luck next year: Georgia Tech (+4), North Florida (+5), BYU (+12)

Medalist: Brad Dalke, Oklahoma (-12)

Individual advancing: Travis Trace, North Florida (-2)

Skinny: An impressive showing by Baylor, to tie the Cardinal on their home course. The Bears had three finishers inside the top 7, led by freshman Cooper Dossey. North Carolina’s 3-under final round was enough to climb three spots and earn the fifth and final spot, by one shot over Georgia Tech, which counted two late bogeys. There was an opportunity for some history Wednesday, with Stanford’s Maverick McNealy tied for the individual lead with two holes to play. He’s been stuck for several months on 11 career titles, tied with Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers for the most all time, but he double-bogeyed the last two holes to finish third. Dalke, the U.S. Amateur runner-up, shot a career-best, three-round total of 12 under to earn medalist honors. 

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Rosaforte Report: Toski lively, singing and ready to go home

By Tim RosaforteJune 22, 2018, 6:41 pm

Bob Toski sounded pretty good for a man near death last week. When we spoke on Friday, the 91-year-old teaching legend and former PGA Tour leading money winner was alive and feeling well. Especially when he was talking about giving lessons, swinging a golf club again, and going down to the piano bar at Arturo’s near his home in Boca Raton, Fla., to sing his favorite song, “Sentimental Journey."

“It’s been quite a journey,” Toski said in total bliss. “But I’m going home tomorrow.”

Going back 10 days, to June 12, Toski suffered a severe heart attack that had him on life support, in critical condition, at a hospital not far from the South Florida golf community where he’s pro emeritus at St. Andrews.

He opened 15 minutes on the phone on Friday by asking how much he owed me for the publicity he got during the U.S. Open. Typical Toski. His heart may have skipped a beat, but he hadn’t.

At no more than 120 pounds, still larger than life.

Bob Toski from his hospital bed in South Florida

“This is the mouse,” he said when asked to confirm it really was him on the phone. “The Mighty Mouse.”

We were laughing now, but there was a moment one night during “Live From the U.S. Open” when I got a message from the Boca hospital which sounded grim. That’s when one of the friends by his side texted me and said it would be just like “Tosk” to sit up straight and ask everybody what was going on.

Essentially, that’s what happened. And now here he was on the phone, cracking off one-liners, talking about Brooks Koepka’s win at Shinnecock, giving his take on the USGA and course setup, asking how much I’d been playing, and giving his love to everybody at “The Channel.”

He invited me down for a lesson at St. Andrews and dinner at Arturos. “In a month’s time,” he said, “I’ll be ready to go.”

He sounded ready right now, singing a line from his favorite song, from his hospital bed in the happiest of voices, “Gotta set my heart at ease.”

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Spieth fades with 3-over 73: 'It's just golf'

By Will GrayJune 22, 2018, 6:10 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After finding nothing but positives for his first five trips around the course, Jordan Spieth finally suffered a setback at TPC River Highlands.

Spieth won the Travelers Championship last year in his tournament debut, and he quickly bounced back from a missed cut at Shinnecock Hills by firing a 7-under 63 in the opening round this week to take a share of the lead. Out early during the second round with a chance to move even further into red figures amid calm conditions, he instead went the other way.

Undone by a triple bogey on the par-5 13th hole, Spieth was 5 over for his first 14 holes and needed an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole for the second straight day simply to salvage a 3-over 73. The score knocked him back to 4 under for the week and six shots behind Brian Harman.

Despite finding three fewer fairways, three fewer greens in regulation and taking five more putts than he did in the opening round, Spieth still put a positive spin on a lackluster result.

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“I actually felt like I had better control of my golf swing than I did yesterday. I really struggled with my swing yesterday and I kind of got some good breaks,” Spieth said. “It’s just golf. It’s kind of like yesterday I got three or four shots extra out of the round, and today I lost three or four based on how I felt.”

Spieth was happy with his opening-round effort, but even after finishing late in the day he still went straight to the driving range that lines the ninth fairway at TPC River Highlands – not exactly standard behavior after grabbing a share of the lead.

“So it’s not like things are on,” he said. “Sometimes it can get disguised by rounds, but it’s not far off. It really is close.”

Spieth has lamented a lack of quality chances to win this year, which he has previously described as being within six shots of the lead heading into the final round. He’ll have some work to do to meet that mark this weekend in defense of his title, as his round hit a snag on No. 13, his fourth hole of the morning, when he pulled his tee shot out of bounds and then hit his subsequent approach into the water.

“For whatever reason, it’s a large fairway but it’s always just killed me,” Spieth said. “I don’t know what it is about the hole, but that hole I get on the tee and for whatever reason I struggle. … I just hit a bad shot at the wrong time there.”

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Watch: Daly's 1999 Pinehurst meltdown as a Lego

By Grill Room TeamJune 22, 2018, 5:42 pm

Jared Jacobs' latest Lego recreation of a memorable golf moment is a timely one.

Less than a week after Phil Mickelson hit a moving ball at Shinnecock Hills, Jacobs gives us John Daly doing the same in the 1999 U.S. Open.

Daly twice hit his ball up the slope and onto the putting surface on the eighth hole in the final round at Pinehurst No. 2, and it twice rolled back to his feet. After the ball began to roll back a third time, Daly slapped it across the green.

Here's a look at some video from the original incident:

Jacobs has also done Lego recreations of:

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Cut Line: Phil's apology doesn't jibe with initial excuse

By Rex HoggardJune 22, 2018, 4:56 pm

In this final look back at the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson offers a curious mea culpa, the USGA endures another setup snafu and some take the “Lefty Loophole” to a logical extreme.

Made Cut

Strength in numbers. When the PGA Tour introduced a strength-of-field regulation for the 2016-17 season, the results were almost immediately favorable.

Essentially, the rule required players who didn’t have at least 25 starts in the previous season to add an event to their schedules that they hadn’t played in the last four years.

Fields at events that often struggled to attract star players widely improved, but the rule has also had a carry-on impact, as the tee sheet for this week’s Travelers Championship proves.

Five out of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are in this week’s field at TPC River Highlands, including world No. 2 Justin Thomas, No. 4 Brooks Koepka, No. 5 Jordan Spieth, No. 7 Rory McIlroy and No. 9 Jason Day.

Many of these stars added the event to their schedules to fulfill the strength-of-field requirement and liked it, making it a regular stop on their dance cards.

It’s often easy to criticize the Tour and forget the myriad constituents the circuit serves, but on this complicated front they got it right.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Mea culpa. As apologies go, Mickelson’s statement this week regarding his actions during the third round of last week’s U.S. Open touched all the right points, albeit a tad late for some.

“I know this should've come sooner, but it's taken me a few days to calm down,” Mickelson said in a statement regarding his decision to hit a moving golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock Hills. “My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I'm embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”

What’s still unclear, however, is exactly what Lefty is apologizing for. In the heat of the moment on Saturday, Mickelson told reporters that those offended by his actions should “toughen up,” and that he fully understood the Rules of Golf on this front and had been thinking about doing something similar to this before.

However, Mickelson’s reconciliatory tone suggests he finally understands the extreme nature of his actions, or maybe he just realized he’s on the wrong side of public opinion.

Tweet of the week:

Mickelson cited a similar scenario on Saturday when asked if he’d ever thought of hitting a moving golf ball. The USGA is deep into what has been billed as a rules modernization. Let’s hope the association, along with the R&A, uses the “Lefty Loophole” as a reason for more tinkering. Players blatantly batting moving golf balls around is a bad look.

Houston, we have a solution. News last week that the Houston Open would remain on the Tour schedule was encouraging on many fronts.

The event will transition to the fall portion of the schedule and will be run by the Astros Foundation and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

According to various sources, the event, which lost its title sponsor after the 2017 event, will be supported by a consortium of local sponsors and is looking to relocate to Memorial Park in 2019.

Lost in all this good news, however, is the Houston Golf Association’s role in the event. The HGA had run the event for 72 years and is a staple to the Houston golf community via its First Tee program and amateur events.

Change may be inevitable for the Houston Tour stop, but given the HGA’s commitment for over seven decades let’s hope some things remain the same.

Missed Cut

Shinnecock sequel. After years of telling the golf world that this Shinnecock Hills Open would be different, the déjà vu that descended on the championship for Round 3 was beyond baffling.

The USGA had 14 years to figure out how to keep what is largely considered one of the best layouts the championship uses from slipping over the setup abyss, and yet as a warm afternoon turned to early evening here we were again.

“What happened is we simply got higher winds than we anticipated,” USGA CEO Mike Davis said on Saturday after some Round 3 hole locations became unplayable. “The grass really began to dry out. In fact, if you looked at it at the end, it was almost wilting around there, and it just didn't have enough grass to hold the ball up.”

For many, the moment of truth came about midway through Davis’ press conference on Saturday.

Question: “Mike, are there any regrets about putting the course this close to the edge? And can you really be surprised by the wind on Long Island in June?”

Davis: “Surprised by the wind in Long Island, I think no. Point made on that. We got, essentially, the wind from the direction, the prevailing wind today, but it was simply at a rate that was a good bit more than what we had anticipated and our meteorologist had thought.”

For the record, Saturday’s forecast called for sustained winds of about 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph around 4 p.m. Maybe the USGA got more than they bargained for from Mother Nature, or maybe they just got it wrong – again.