Courtesy of www.ncaa.com
Oregon sophomore Aaron Wise was crowned the 2016 NCAA individual champion, while the field in the team championship was narrowed to eight teams at the conclusion of the fourth round of stroke play at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club, a par 70, 7,014-yard course.
Yesterday’s round featured Wise sinking birdies on two of his first three holes, however, today the sophomore bogeyed on two of his first three holes. After that, he was on fire through the front nine, firing three birdies to go 2-under heading into the turn.
On the back nine, he faltered by double-bogeying on the par-4 12th hole and then again on the par-3 16th. Wise came back with a birdie on the 17th and finished the round by making par on 18 to shoot a 1-over 71. He was 5-under for the tournament and finished two strokes ahead of Southern California’s Rico Hoey.
In the third round, Wise had shot a 6-under par 64, the low round of the championship, separating himself from the field.
Last summer, in a preview of the NCAA Men’s Championship, Wise had won the 49th Pacific Coast Amateur, also held at Eugene CC, which is the University of Oregon’s home course.
The NCAA’s was Wise’s last event as an amateur. Having just completed his sophomore year at Oregon, he will now be turning professional.
“I knew it was going to be a long day from the start, and to have all my friends and family out there rooting me on was awesome,’ Wise said. “I had a couple hiccups down the back nine there, but birdie on 17 was huge, and to get a par from where I hit it off the tee on 18 was big. Really special to win these awards.”
The eight teams advancing on to match play tomorrow include Texas, Illinois, LSU, Southern California, Vanderbilt, host Oregon, South Carolina and Oklahoma. The Longhorns unseated Vanderbilt in the top spot after shooting a 7-over 287 today to sit at 14-over for the tournament.
“It was an odd day,” Texas head coach John Fields said. “We got off to an ok start, but the golf course just showed its teeth. I think the teams that were at the top today, for whatever reason, just didn’t play the kind of golf that we’re capable of playing. On the other hand, you play 72 holes for a reason. I’m really proud of our guys, they did a good job.”
Texas got an even-par round from Taylor Funk while Beau Hossler shot a 3-over 73 to end stroke play at even-par and finish in a tie for fifth.
“I’m definitely disappointed with the way I played, but obviously really proud of my team for how they played,” Hossler said. “We came out on top in the stroke play portion and we’ll be the No. 1 seed going into tomorrow so that will be awesome and I’m really proud of the guys.”
The Longhorns will face Oklahoma in tomorrow’s 7:50 a.m. PT quarterfinal match play round. After the Sooners received some help yesterday to make the first cut, Oklahoma took advantage today, shooting a 3-under 267 to move up six spots and advance on to match play.
“We played great today,” Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl said. “We had not played very good this spring and we had been waiting for something to click and today was great. I saw our guys make putts. We played the par-five’s well and we played the par-three’s well, which out here you have to do. I just felt that we did a good job of fighting and hanging in there.”
Illinois made the biggest jump of the day as the Fighting Illini shot up seven spots thanks to a 4-under 276 round. Thomas Detry carded his best round of the tournament as the senior fired a 3-under 67 to lead the team and finish in a tie for 10th individually.
“We came out and played with the mindset that we were going to move up the leader board,” Illinois head coach Mike Small said. “They played solid from the first hole.”
Illinois will face seven-seed South Carolina at 7 a.m. PT. The Gamecocks shot a 3-under 277 to gain five spots and make the cut.
Host Oregon finished sixth and will face No. 3 seed LSU in the 7 a.m. PT quarterfinal, while Southern California and Vanderbilt face off at 7:50 a.m. PT.