CARLSBAD, Calif. – Another solid round of play helped Virginia easily advance to Monday’s final round of stroke play at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships at the Omni La Costa Resort North Course. The Cavaliers shot 3-over 291 during the third round of the tournament for a three-day total of 4-over 868.

After leading the 30-team field the first two days, UVA slipped back to second place following Illinois posting a round of 6-under 282 to take over the top spot on the leaderboard at 2-under 862. That was the best single-round score of the tournament. Vanderbilt holds down third place at 9-over 873 while Florida State is fourth at 10-over 874.

After the third round the field was cut to 15 teams for Monday’s final round of stroke play. The top eight teams will then advance to match play. UVA heads into the fourth round with a 16-stroke advantage over Florida, the team currently in eighth place. The Cavaliers were seventh in stroke play last season and lost to the Gators 3-2 in the quarterfinals of match play.

“You want to make the top eight,” said Virginia coach Bowen Sargent. “Obviously our goal is to win and get the number-one position, but you want to be in the top eight and get a chance to play in match play.”

The NCAA individual champion will also be crowned Monday and UVA’s Ben James in in the hunt for medalist honors.

James led the Cavaliers during the third round by shooting 3-under 69. After three rounds he is tied with Stanford’s Karl Vilips for second place at 3-under 213, just two shots behind Ohio State’s Adam Wallin. James’ scoring total includes a one-stroke penalty he was accessed during the opening round for a pace of play violation.

“I’m very excited,” said James about his first three rounds at the tournament. “My pitching and chipping have been the things I’ve been most impressed about. I’ve pitched and chipped really good, and that was something I knew was going to be tough. It’s been cool to see me do that well in those areas. My putting has been really nice, and I haven’t had many three-putts if any. My speed has been good. I knew that would be very important. It’s tough to make putts out here but if you can lag them up pretty good, it’s very important.”

On Sunday, James played a bogey-free round, posting birdies on the fourth, eighth and 12th holes. He is one of just five players to post a bogey-free round during the first three days of the tournament that totals 468 rounds of golf. Last year he placed sixth at the event on the way to winning the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman.

“I hit it really good and didn’t make a bogey all day which is pretty hard to do,” James said. “I drove it really well today. It’s kind of funny, the other days I didn’t hit it that well but I putted really good. It shows how golf is weird. I had a lot of control in my wedges, and my distances were really good. All my lag putts I had, I just nestled those down for two-putts.”

James is not the only Cavalier near the top of the leaderboard. Brothers George and Josh Duangmanee are tied for 12th place after Sunday at even par 216. Josh, a freshman, bettered his older brother during the third round by posting a score of 72 while George, a senior, shot 74. George was off to a tremendous start, playing his opening nine holes at 4-under par. On his approach shot to the 13th green he missed right and his ball plugged in a bunker that led to a triple-bogey on the hole.

Bryan Lee rounded out UVA’s scoring on Sunday with a 76 while Deven Patel shot 77.  Lee is in 60th place at 224 while Patel is 73rd at 225.

UVA entered the third round with just one score over bogey in its first 180 holes, but it ran into some trouble on the back nine that has proven to be the toughest part of the course. In addition to George Duangmanee’s triple, UVA posted three other double bogeys on the closing set of holes.

“We played well and had it going great until 13,” Sargent said. “We leaked a little oil from 13 through 18, but the guys played great and 72s and 73s are good scores out here. I thought they played well.”

UVA will tee off Monday at 12:35 p.m. PT while paired with Illinois and Vanderbilt. James will be matched up with the Illini’s Max Herendeen and the Commodores’ Gordon Sargent who are one shot behind him in the hunt for the NCAA individual title. Golf Channel will provide live coverage on Monday from 6-10 p.m. ET.

NCAA Championships
Omni La Costa Resort North Course
Carlsbad, Calif.
Par 72, 7,538 yards
Third-Round Results

Team Results
 1. Illinois              293-287-282-862
 2. Virginia              290-287-291-868
 3. Vanderbilt            297-286-290-873
 4. Florida State         299-289-286-874
 5. Ohio State            294-294-289-877
 6. North Carolina        291-296-292-879
 6. Auburn                293-293-293-879
 8. Florida               295-302-287-884
 9. Arizona               290-298-297-885
 9. Georgia Tech          292-301-292-885
11. Texas                 296-301-290-887
12. Baylor                297-299-292-888
13. Oklahoma              301-302-286-889
14. Tennessee             305-292-294-891
14. East Tennessee State  296-297-298-891
Top 15 teams after round 3 advance to round 4
16. Wake Forest           298-304-291-893
17. Texas Tech            309-301-285-895
18. LSU                   301-306-296-903
19. California            304-296-304-904
20 Texas A&M              298-307-300-905
20. Stanford              297-301-307-905
22. Clemson               306-303-297-906
23. Oklahoma State        303-305-299-907
23. Notre Dame            296-305—306-907
25. Utah                  306-298-305-909
26. SMU                   303-302-307-910
27. New Mexico            299-306-307-912
28. West Virginia         307-304-302-913
29. North Florida         307-297-317-921
30. Purdue                310-310-304-924

Individual Leaders
1. Adam Wallin, Ohio State    68-74-69-211

2. Ben James, Virginia        73-71-69-213
1. Karl Vilips, Stanford      69—68-76-213

Virginia Results
 2. Ben James          73-71-69-213

12. Josh Duangmanee    72-72-72-216
12. George Duangmanee  71-71-74-216
60. Bryan Lee          75-73-76-224
73. Deven Patel        74-74-77-225