published Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Mocs’ long shot falls short in NCAA golf regional

Mark Guhne loves college football, especially University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football.

Heading into the final round of the NCAA South Central Regional at Erie, Colo., the UTC men’s golf coach knew his team needed the equivalent of a 50-yard Hail Mary to advance to the NCAA championship tournament.

The Mocs didn’t get it.

They shot a 4-under-par 284 Saturday — their best round of the three-day tournament — but finished ninth in a tournament that awards bids to the top five teams.

UTC concluded the tournament at 1-under 863 — six strokes behind Georgia and Arizona State, which tied for fourth and the final two advancing positions from Colorado National Golf Club.

“It’s kind of like getting beat by a field goal,” Guhne said by phone. “We gave away some shots in the first two days, and it caught up with us.”

Top-ranked Oklahoma State ran away with the regional title. The Cowboys shot 31 under with Kevin Tway earning medalist honors at 10-under 206. Georgia senior Harris English, a former Baylor School standout, tied for fourth individually at 210 after a 68 on Saturday.

Colorado State was the team runner-up at 851, followed by Northwestern at 855 and Georgia and ASU at 857 — one shot better than TCU, two better than Clemson and four better than Auburn.

“We knew we had to go pretty low,” UTC junior captain Stephan Jaeger said. “We were pretty far back and we needed a miracle round, which didn’t happen.”

Jaeger, who also prepped at Baylor, tied for 16th at 1-under 215 and led UTC’s scoring.

Freshman Chris Robb tied for 24th at 216. He entered the final round with a chance to advance to the NCAA championship as an individual if he had the best score from a non-advancing team. But he shot 5 over in the final round and lost the spot that went to Geoff Gonzalez of Cal Poly.

“Things didn’t come together like the last two days,” Robb said. “I got off to a shaky start, and everything wasn’t as tight as it was in the first two rounds. We played solid as a team, but that wasn’t good enough to advance.”

The Mocs’ Steven Fox closed with a 67 and shared 44th place at 219 with teammate Benni Weilguni.

In the Central-Indiana Regional, Tennessee advanced by tying for fourth place at 13 over at Wolf Run Golf Club. Former Baylor golfer Jay Vandeventer had the Volunteers’ drop score Saturday and tied for 45th at 12 over.

In the West-San Diego Regional, Middle Tennessee State finished 10th at 887 with Jason Millard advancing as an individual by tying for fourth at 211. McMinnville’s Brett Patterson shared 17th at 2-over 218, and former Rhea County star Hunter Green was MTSU’s third best scorer, tying for 51st at 227.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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