May 28, 2017
Sugar Grove, Ill. – The No. 18 Virginia men’s golf team bounced back from a slow start to shoot 4-under 284 and finish the third round of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships tied for seventh place. UVA’s score tied as the fifth best of the third round.
Following the 54-hole cut, UVA is one of 15 teams that advance to Monday’s final round of medal play. The Cavaliers’ three-round total is 9-under 855. No. 4 Vanderbilt leads the 30-team field after Sunday’s play at 18-under 846.
After Monday’s fourth round, the top eight teams will advance to the match play portion of the championship. UVA senior Jimmy Stanger (Tampa, Fla.) and sophomore Thomas Walsh (High Point, N.C.) are among the tournament’s leaders heading into the final round. Texas’s Scott Scheffler tops the field with a two-shot lead at 12-under 204. Stanger is tied for seventh at 7-under 209 and Walsh is tied for 10th at 6-under 210. Starting its round on the course’s back nine, UVA was five-over par through its first eight holes, which at the time was the highest score for any team in the morning wave. That’s when Walsh’s putting stroke helped propel the Cavaliers up the leaderboard.
Walsh birdied the notoriously hard 17th hole at Rich Harvest Farms, one of just seven players to do so during the round, and followed that up with three more birdies in a row as he made his turn. After a par on the par-3 third hole, he birdied numbers four and five for a stretch of six birdies over seven holes.
“The putter was pretty hot,” Walsh said. “I think I had 10 or 11 putts on my back nine of the course. I really wasn’t hitting it well, this was the worst I’ve hit it in three days but when I gave myself chances, I capitalized. My short game was really solid, I was chipping them inside of 10 (feet) and making the putts.”
Walsh led UVA in the third round with a 5-under 67. Through 54 holes of play he has posted 17 birdies, the third most in the field.
Walsh was not the only Cavalier who got hot during their back nine. Stanger used an eagle on the 18th hole (his ninth hole) to set up his own charge. He posted four birdies over his next seven holes and finished at 4-under 68.
“That (eagle) was huge,” said Stanger, who hit a two-iron 240 yards to within 15 feet of the hole. “It was probably one of the best two irons I’ve ever hit in my life. To go from one-over par to one-under par going into the back nine was huge. That carried over on my back nine. I was able to finish that off pretty strong.”
Junior Danny Walker (Bradenton, Fla.) also helped the Hoos down the stretch, playing the back nine at 1-under, including an eagle on the par-5 seventh hole. He finished his round at even par 72.
“I got a little nervous there after a couple of holes,” said UVA head coach Bowen Sargent. “I didn’t like the position we were in because 10, 11 and 12 are a pretty easy stretch on this golf course and we were three or four over early. For a team that is veteran and mature, like this one, they know it is going to happen to every team out there and it is just a matter of how you handle it. It was nice to see them be resilient and to be patient. Those are the types of things that we talk to Dr. (Bob) Rotella about and it was nice to see them heed his advice.”
Senior Derek Bard (New Hartford, N.Y.) shot 5-over 77 and freshman Luke Schaap (Potomac, Md.) finished at 78 to round out UVA’s scoring. Walker and Bard finished the day in 59th place at 2-over 218. Schaap is 146th at 234.
Virginia will be attempting to make the match play portion of the championship for the first time since it was instituted to determine the NCAA Champion in 2009. UVA’s best result in its previous 16 NCAA appearances was 11th-place showings in 1946 and 2010.
Sargent says the team will not take a different approach during the final round.
“They have to play like they’ve played the past three days,” he said. “It is not any more important tomorrow that it was the first tee shot of the tournament. They should know the golf course better after playing it for a couple of days and I think everybody is in a pretty good position. I want them to stay relaxed and to go out there and have confidence in themselves.”
Walsh is looking forward to the challenge.
“This program deserves it because of all the hard work Coach Sargent has put in,” Walsh said. “We have a great chance going into tomorrow to do something special.”
UVA will be paired with Baylor and Auburn during the fourth round. Those teams will tee off starting at 2:10 p.m. ET from the 10th tee.
The Golf Channel will televise the final round for 5-8 p.m. ET.
Rich Harvest Farms
Sugar Grove, Ill.
Par 72, 7,300 yards
Third Round Results
Team Results 1. Vanderbilt 278-288-280-846 2. Oklahoma 284-279-284-847 2. UNLV 283-279-285-847 2. USC 284-283-280-847 5. Illinois 282-283-285-850 6. Oklahoma State 282-287-283-852 7. Baylor 288-280-287-855 7. Virginia 288-283-284-855 9. Auburn 282-284-290-85610. LSU 291-277-290-85811. Texas 293-283-283-85912. Florida State 289-285-286-86013. Oregon 294-282-289-86514. Pepperdine 289-293-287-86915. UCF 294-284-293-871(Cut ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Â¢ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Â¡Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Â¢ÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ top 15 teams advance)16. Arizona State 290-293-289-87217. Alabama 287-293-293-87318. Iowa State 293-285-297-87518. North Carolina 293-287-295-87520. Stanford 293-287-299-87921. Kent State 289-293-299-88122. Duke 298-292-298-88822. Mississippi 287-299-302-88824. Penn State 301-292-296-89124. Lipscomb 300-291-300-89126. Jacksonville 294-296-302-89226. New Mexico 297-295-300-89228. Purdue 298-295-309-90229. Kennesaw State 297-300-307-90430. Clemson 313-285-307-905
Individual Leaders1. Scottie Scheffler, Texas 68-68-68-2042. Braden Thornberry, Mississippi 66-71-69-2063. Matthias Schwab, Vanderbilt 67-70-70-2073. Dylan Meyer, Illinois 71-67-69-2075. Rico Hoey, USC 74-68-66-2085. Kyler Tate, UCF 73-66-69-208
Virginia Results 7. Jimmy Stanger 70-71-68-209 10. Thomas Walsh 74-69-67-210 59. Derek Bard 73-68-77-218 59. Danny Walker 71-75-72-218146. Luke Schaap 75-81-78-234="https://virginiasports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://virginiasports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="http:>