April 22, 2018
New London, N.C. – Virginia junior Thomas Walsh could not have wished for a better time to win his first collegiate tournament as he posted the best 54-score in the 65-year history of the ACC Championships to win the league’s individual title at the Old North State Club in New London, N.C. Walsh shot 4-under 68 on Sunday to complete the three-day event at 16-under 200.
Walsh’s total was his best tournament score as a collegiate, topping the 11-under 205 he posted in 2016 at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate. He was the runner-up at that fall event. Walsh’s second-round score of 7-under 65 at the ACCs matched his best 18-hole performance that he also recorded at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate.
“It is incredible,” said Walsh, who grew up in nearby High Point, N.C. “It is hard to put into words. It is the best thing that has ever happened to my golf career. It’s my only win in college. I could not wish it any other way, especially doing this in my home state.
“I’ve been coming to this thing for maybe 10 years. I always wanted to just play in the tournament. To win it, is incredible.”
Virginia finished fourth in the 12-team field. The Cavaliers’ score of 24-under 840 was the best in program history at the ACC Championships, bettering the 2012 team’s total of 20-under 844. UVA shot 10-under 278 during each of its final two rounds. Georgia Tech took the team title at 29-under 835 while Clemson was second at 27-under 837. The Yellow Jackets won their 17th ACC title in program history and ninth in the last 13 years.
“I’m really happy for Thomas,” said UVA coach Bowen Sargent. “It was a great week to shoot 16-under par. It was his first college win as a junior and I know he wanted one really bad. It was good to see him get it at such a historic event. This means a lot to him being from North Carolina and this tournament is basically in his back yard. This week he beat up on them pretty good.”
Walsh was not the only Cavalier to have a stellar weekend. Senior Danny Walker (Bradenton, Fla.) finished third overall, carding a career-low score of 13-under 203. He was one of four UVA golfers to shoot under par on Sunday, finishing with a 3-under 69.
Cavalier freshman Jimmie Massie (Lynchburg, Va.) was 33th at 217. He shot 70 during the final round. Sophomore Andrew Orischak (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) was 52nd at 223 and redshirt sophomore Ashton Poole was 56th at 224. Orischak fired 71 during the final round while Poole posted his best 18-hole effort of the tournament, finishing with a 73.
Walsh entered the final round with a two-shot lead over teammate Walker and was four strokes ahead of the next non-UVA competitor. He extended that lead early in his round, posting birdies on three of his first four holes to improve to 15-under par. Then he cooled off. He made par on his next 11 holes, several times leaving birdie putts on the edge of the cup.
Clemson’s Doc Redman, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion, also got off to a red-hot start, playing his first six holes at six under par and trailed Walsh by just one shot as Walsh was heading to the back nine of his round. Like Walsh, Redman cooled off and posted four consecutive pars before getting a costly bogey on the par five 11th hole. At that same time, Walsh made birdie on No. 16 to push his lead back to three strokes and he cruised to the title with pars on 17 and 18.
Walsh did not know Redman was on his heels and never looked at the numerous leaderboards on the course during his round.
“I had no idea and I’m honestly glad I did not watch the scoreboard,” Walsh said. “I was just hoping I had a three- or four-shot lead. It was nice not to know what was going on and to just kind of do my own thing.
“I tried to trick myself into thinking I was going to play well today. I kept telling myself on the range that everything was going to be okay. That I just needed to take some deep breaths and once I got on the course the nerves would go away. They never really did. I was nervous all day.”
Walsh became the second consecutive Cavalier to capture the individual crown. Last year senior Jimmy Stanger took top honors after winning a one-hole, four-player playoff. Walsh is the fourth UVA golfer all-time to take home the gold medal. Pete Arend won the program’s first ACC title in 1955 and then Ben Rusch placed first in 2012.
“I think this solidifies everything that Bowen Sargent does and everything he does for the players,” Walsh said. “I’m not saying I’m one of the best, but he is putting out incredible players every year, people on the PGA Tour. Without his work, none of this happens.”
By virtue of winning the individual title, Walsh earns All-ACC status. He and the Cavaliers will now await a bid to the NCAA Regional Championships that take place May 14-16 at six sites around the nation.
The ACC Championships also signify the men’s golf matchup between Virginia and Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Clash, sponsored by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of University of Virginia Athletics. With its fourth-place finish, UVA claimed the one point at stake in the all-sports rivalry series between the two schools. Virginia Tech finished the ACC Championships in 12th place. Learn more about Virginia529 and this rivalry competition at thecommonwealthclash.com.
Old North State Club
New London, N.C.
Par-72, 7,102 yards
Team Results 1. Georgia Tech 276-277-282-835 2. Clemson 279-280-278-837 3. Wake Forest 281-283-274-838 4. Virginia 284-278-278-840 5. Duke 286-276-282-844 6. North Carolina 283-280-282-845 6. Notre Dame 277-282-286-845 8. NC State 285-281-280-846 9. Florida State 282-284-282-84810. Boston College 292-286-278-85611. Louisville 291-291-282-86212. Virginia Tech 295-283-301-879
Individual Leaders1. Thomas Walsh, Virginia 67-65-68-2003. Doc Redman, Clemson 67-69-66-2022. Danny Walker, Virginia 65-69-69-203
Virginia Results 1. Thomas Walsh 67-65-68-200 3. Danny Walker 65-69-69-20333. Jimmie Massie 78-69-70-21752. Andrew Orischak 77-75-71-22356. Ashton Poole 75-76-73-224