Golf ends season with loss at NCAA Tournament

Following its third place finish at the Southeast Regional, the Tech golf team entered the NCAA finals as the No. 14 seed. The Jackets started slowly on Tuesday, June 1, and ended the tournament’s first day tied for No. 10. However, Tech played well enough on the tournament’s final two days to earn a spot in Friday’s match play. There, though, Tech ultimately fell to eventual national champion Augusta State, 3-2.

The Jackets, making their No. 24 NCAA appearance since 1985, shot a two-over 290 on the first day, seven strokes behind the leaders.

Tech started off on the wrong foot, ending the first day at six-over-par. Tech was able to rebound on the back nine with low scores from juniors Paul Haley and John-Tyler Griffin.

Following a double bogey, Haley played the last 12 holes at four-under-par, including a six-hole stretch on the front in which he ran off four birdies.

Griffin, two-over after nine, was also impressive on his back nine, posting three birdies to shoot a 71.

Haley continued his strong play on Wednesday by shooting a three-under 69, leading Tech into third place. The Jackets shot a six-under 282, but they were still ten strokes behind Florida State after two days.

On the final day of the tournament, Tech shot a two-under 286, good enough to hold up third place for the tournament.

The Jackets started fast, recording four birdies at the first hole and got its tournament score to eight-under-par at one point on the front nine. However, Tech went six-over over for the tournament’s final nine holes, and finished as the third-best team in stroke play, two shots ahead of Washington.

By virtue of finishing the stroke-play tournament in the top eight, Tech earned a spot in the match-play tournament taking place that weekend to determine the national champion. Tech, the No. 3 seed for match play, drew No. 6 Augusta State in the first round but fell to the Jaguars 3-2.

Haley was three holes down with seven to play, but he made two birdies to get within one stroke. However, Haley was only able to halve the final hole, giving Newman a 1-up victory.

Tech junior Kyle Scott overcame a three-hole deficit with six to play, winning the final three holes to score a 1-up victory. Sophomore James White also won his match 2 and 1 to give the Jackets a 2-1 lead.

Senior Chesson Hadley’s match came down to the final hole, with Hadley needing a win on the last hole to stay alive. Hadley canned a 30-foot putt for birdie to put the pressure on Patrick Reed. Reed would not falter and made his 15-foot birdie putt to halve the hole and have the match.

Griffin was defeated by his opponent 1-down, and with that the Jackets ended their season.