RANCHO SANTA FE, California (May 16, 2015) -- Being picked as an underdog can prove motivational. At the NCAA Division I Southwest Regional hosted by University of San Diego, being picked as "likely to advance" as opposed to one of the favorites obviously worked this week for Oklahoma.
In fact, the Sooners took a such a huge lead into today's final round at The Farms in Rancho Santa Fe (home of Phil Mickelson) that finishing anything other than first would have been a disappointment.
Their season-low round 275 on Friday gave Oklahoma a 22-shot cushion over ASU heading into today's final round, and they didn't open any doors, posting a comfortable team total of 4-under 284 to win by 20 shots over ASU at 21-under par for the tournament.
Pacing the Sooners was sophomore Max McGreevy, who started today with birdies on three of the first four holes (including the first two) and added another on the par-5 9th to post 4-under 32 on the front nine. McGreevy was tied at 9-under with individual winner Jon Rahm of ASU with one hole to play, but took a bogey on the relatively easy par-5 18th hole, which Rahm birdied to capture the individual title.
Indeed both McGreevy, and teammate Michael Gellerman, played their hearts out in tying for second at 8-under this week. Both posted all three rounds under par at the challenging course, where double bogeys are definitely in play if you miss a fairway or green in the wrong place. (And where today's pins were extra challenging.)
Rounding out the top-5 who will advance to the NCAA Division I Championship are Georgia Tech (5-over 869); Georgia (6-over 870) and Virginia (10-over 874). All three teams had key performances by their leading players today. Schniederjans, despite a case of the lefts of the tee mid-round, posted 70 for Georgia Tech. Lee McCoy posted 69 for Georgia, as did Denny McCarthy of Virginia.
Narrowly missing moving on to Florida was Wichita State, who posted 12-over 876 to finish 2 shots out of a playoff.
INDIVIDUAL CHAMP HEADING FOR BIGGER THINGS
Individual winner Jon Rahm, a 6' 3" Junior from Barrika, Spain, is the number two player in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Men's World Rankings. He vaulted into the worldwide golf spotlight with a 5th place finish in the PGA Tour's 2015 Waste Management Open, and had 6 wins for ASU in his career heading into today. While Phil Mickelson's record of 16 wins is safe, Rahm can certainly put Billy Mayfair's 8-win career in his rearview mirror soon.
- ASU's Rahm posted the low round of the tournament, an 8-under 64 on Friday that gave him the 36-hole individual lead at 134 and set him up for the individual title. (To put Rahm's individual score on Friday in perspective, it would have qualified for the U.S. Four-Ball here several months ago.)
- The few spectators that took in the action included mostly friends, family, and The Farms Golf Club members. Too bad, because the field included some of the world's best amateurs -- players like Jon Rahm (ASU), Ollie Schniederjans (Georgia Tech), Gavin Green (New Mexico) and Rhys Pugh (ETSU).
- The Farms held up well as a tournament venue, despite being just under 7000-yards in length. The relatively tight fairways, fast greens, (and penalty associated with missing them in many cases) make shooting anything under par a good score even for the best players. There are two seriously challenging par-3s, and the 17th hole is a par 4 that would test even the best pros.