published Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Chris Robb sets UTC records at NCAA tournament as college career ends

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    UTC's Chris Robb swings away at the team's practice facility on Hickory Valley Road.
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The final round of golf that Chris Robb played as a college golfer, contested on the biggest stage in the college game, turned out to be the best round of his four years wearing blue and gold.

Robb, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior, shot a 6-under-par 64 in the final round of individual play Monday in the NCAA championship tournament at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan.

"It's a little bittersweet because it's only me here," Robb said over the phone. "I'm a little depressed that I've finished college. But I'm happy with the way I finished my college career.

"It was a good way to end against a strong field."

Extensive weather delays during the tournament eliminated an 18-hole race for medalist for the top 40 and ties after 54 holes. The medalist was determined after three rounds.

Stanford golfer Cameron Wilson won the title in a sudden-death three-hole playoff against Georgia Tech's Ollie Schniederjans.

Robb tied for 15th place after beginning his final round by playing eight holes Sunday and completing his round Monday morning. That finish will earn him All-America honorable mention.

He finished with a flair.

Robb, who grew up in Scotland and is headed home in the next 48 hours, made five birdies in his final six holes.

"The putts started to drop for me," said Robb, who won two tournaments in his UTC career and finished runner-up in the 2012 Southern Conference tournament. "I hit it to within 15 feet on each of those holes."

UTC coach Mark Guhne watched all of those shots from a few feet away and helped Robb read the birdie putts.

"I walked the last nine holes with him, and he just took off," Guhne said. "Every putt he had was going right to left, and it was a lot of fun to watch."

Robb's final-round 64 set a record for the lowest score shot by a UTC player in the national championship event. It ties the NCAA playoff record of 64 shot in 2012 by Steven Fox in the Bowling Green Regional. His tie for 15th place tops the previous best finish for a Moc in the championship by 30 places when Stephan Jaeger tied for 45th in 2012.

Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion, suggested to Robb on Twitter that he turn professional and remain in the United States to do so. But Robb will stick to his plans of playing a few amateur events in Europe before turning professional later this year and perhaps enter Web.com Tour qualifying school.

But that is months away.

No round Robb has ever played turned out better for him than the most recent one, especially considering the string of weather issues that robbed him of momentum, rhythm and comfort in Kansas.

"It's definitely one of the most messed-up tournaments I've played as far as delays," he said. "But there's nothing anybody could have done about the weather."

He, Guhne, volunteer assistant David McKenna and UTC spokesman Jim Horten spent hours in the clubhouse waiting out the weather delays. They killed the hours by watching television, conversing with friends and each other and twiddling their thumbs.

"I've seen so much of the lobby of the Super 8 motel and the course restaurant in the last four days than I want to see again in my life," Guhne said. "The weather made for a long four days out here."

Robb made them a successful four days for himself.

The eight teams advancing to match play to determine the national championship were Stanford, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Illinois and Southern Methodist.

South Carolina, coached by former Dalton resident Bill McDonald, missed a playoff to determine the last match-play team by one stroke.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

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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