published Friday, June 1st, 2012

Golf Mocs end season short of match play

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's golfers would prefer to wake up this morning and play again in the NCAA championship tournament.

But the Mocs did not advance to the eight-team match-play round after shooting a 32-over-par 864 the last three days at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. They ended up 18th, three shots behind 17th-place Georgia.

So the plans are for the Mocs to turn into tourists, enjoy Los Angeles and conclude the day by celebrating a historic season with an evening sailboat ride on the Pacific Ocean.

"We may never get to L.A. again, any of us, in our lives, so we're going to enjoy it," UTC coach Mark Guhne said via cell phone. "I wish we were still playing. But we didn't play well on the first day, and that killed us."

This is only the second time UTC golfers have played for a national championship. They finished in 18th place when the tournament was held at the Inverness Club in 2009.

"All in all, it was a good week, but the first day of a 15 over put us behind the 8-ball," Guhne said.

Senior Stephan Jaeger led the Mocs with a three-day total of 6-over 219. Junior Steven Fox finished at 221. They both had 70s Thursday, new program bests for NCAA championship play.

"We've slipped by a few times this year when we didn't play our best, but you can't do that against the top 30 teams in the country," said Jaeger, who prepped at Baylor School. "This tournament, on this course, brings out the best teams. It's sad to say we're not one of them. But we're close."

Chris Robb was third overall for the Mocs at 223. Davis Bunn finished at 226 and Liam Johnston at 228.

"I talked with the younger guys and they've learned a lot," Guhne said, "and they've learned that they're not that far off from being one of the best teams in the country. They'll be fired up to get back here and advance next year."

Jaeger said he will turn professional following his participation in the British Amateur.

The other Mocs are scheduled to return next season.

"Jaeger has meant a lot to us," Guhne said. "He's played in four regionals and two national championships. He's played against the best."

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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