May 18, 2016
Franklin, Tenn. – The No. 26 Virginia men’s golf team advanced to the NCAA Championships in dramatic fashion thanks to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Regional in Franklin, Tenn., at the Vanderbilt Legends Club. The Cavaliers used a birdie putt from junior Jimmy Stanger (Tampa, Fla.) on the 18th hole to break a tie with No. 23 Washington and grab the final berth from the 13-team field.
Virginia finished the 54-hole tournament at 22-under 842, the best NCAA Regional score in the program’s history. The Cavaliers shot 2-under 286 during Wednesday’s final round. Top-seed Texas, the nation’s second-ranked team, won the regional at 45-under 819. No. 9 Vanderbilt was second at 830 followed by No. 35 Houston (839) and No. 14 LSU (839).
The top-five teams from six NCAA regional sites advance to the NCAA Championships that will take place May 27-June 1 at The Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
Virginia trailed the Huskies, which had already finished their round, by one stroke with three players yet to finish the par-5, 527-yard 18th hole. Freshman Thomas Walsh (High Point, N.C.) made a birdie to tie the two teams and then sophomore Danny Walker (Bradenton, Fla.) posted a par to set the stage for Stanger.
After making birdie on the par-4, 17th hole, Stanger laced a 300-yard drive to the middle of the 18th fairway. From 225 yards out, he hit his 5-iron into a greenside bunker, chipped to within two feet and polished off his birdie putt to provide UVA the one-shot margin it needed to advance to nationals.
“I felt like we were a team deserving to advance to the championship, but there are no guarantees at the regional,” said Virginia coach Bowen Sargent, who’s team was seeded fifth in the field. “We struggled early in the day when a lot of other teams were posting low numbers. Our guys stayed steady and played good golf, especially over the final couple of holes. They demonstrated the makeup and desire it takes if you want to advance and play for the national championship.”
After shooting 17-under 281 during Tuesday’s second round, the Cavaliers made the turn at just 1-under par. UVA’s four counting players played the final two holes at a combined 5-under par.
For the second consecutive day, junior Derek Bard (New Hartford, N.Y.) led the team with a 2-under 70. Stanger shot 71, Walker 72 and Walsh posted a 73. A double-bogey on the final hole dropped freshman Ashton Poole (Charlotte, N.C.) back to 74.
Stanger was sixth overall at 9-under 207 while Walker was 22nd at 212. Bard, who opened the tournament with a 5-over 77, climbed all the way back to 25th place at 3-under 213. Walsh was 39th at 216 and Poole completed play in 45th position at 217.
“I talked to Jimmy on the 11th tee and Derek on the 13th hole and told them we had to have their best golf from there to the house,” Sargent said. “They responded and did what they had to do. Players with that kind of ability have to have the confidence to play well and they did.”
Virginia advances to the 30-team NCAA Championships for the 16th time in its history. Last year, the Cavaliers finished 18th at the NCAA Championships in Bradenton, Fla.
The Cavaliers are one of five ACC teams that advanced to the NCAA Championships. Also making it through from a regional site were Clemson, Louisville, Florida State and Wake Forest.
NCAA Franklin Regional
Vanderbilt Legends Club
Par-72, 7,190 yards
Team Results 1. Texas 268-271-280-819 2. Vanderbilt 285-277-268-830 3. Houston 293-274-272-839 3. LSU 288-272-279-839 5. Virginia 285-271-286-842 6. Washington 283-280-280-843 7. Kennesaw State 283-279-285-847 8. East Carolina 279-289-281-849 9. Pepperdine 296-286-281-86310. Michigan 303-284-285-87211. Troy 305-283-288-87612. Georgetown 295-289-293-87713. UT-Martin 293-294-291-878
Individual Leaders1. Michael Perras, Houston 65-69-66-2002. Doug Ghim, Texas 64-69-69-2022. Ryan Cole, James Madison 69-64-69-2024. Theo Humphrey, Vanderbilt 70-66-69-205
Virginia Results 6. Jimmy Stanger 68-68-71-20722. Danny Walker 72-68-72-21225. Derek Bard 77-66-70-21339. Thomas Walsh 71-72-73-21645. Ashton Poole 74-69-74-217="https://virginiasports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://virginiasports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="http:>