Photo Courtesy of NCAA.com
KISSIMMEE, FL (May 25, 2017) – Florida Southern University and Lynn University are through to the NCAA Division II team finals after both teams advanced in match play earlier today.
At the start of the day there were 8 teams; now only two remain after the penultimate day at the Watson course at Reunion Resort. Each team was seeded as such: No. 1 Barry, No. 2 Florida Southern, No. 3 West Florida, No. 4 Lynn, No. 5 Florida Tech, No. 6 Newberry, No. 7 Ferris State, No. 8 Arkansas Tech.
QUARTERFINALS – Barry and Arkansas Tech faced off as the No. 1 seed looked to continue its strong play. Barry caught a cold streak at the absolute worse time as they were upset by Arkansas Tech on a tiebreaker 2-2-1. Luke Cornett and Putter Srinoon of ATU were the two that propelled them to the next round.
Lynn and Florida Tech faced off in the 4 v 5 matchup. Lynn had to sweat out the victory as the match went to the final hole where Manuel Torres held the lead for Lynn against Jonas Kugel of Florida Tech. Lynn won 3-1-1.
Florida Southern had no problem taking care of Ferris State as the Moccasins swept the Bulldogs 5-0. Both are storied programs and Florida Southern looks to be peaking at just the right time.
In the final quarterfinal, West Florida and individual champion Chandler Blanchet faced Newberry. West Florida had no problem taking care of Newberry as the Argonauts outshot the Wolves by 24 strokes.
SEMIFINALS – Just like that only four teams remained. In the first semifinal, Lynn faced a confident Arkansas Tech team fresh off a major upset. Only one of the matchups was close as 4 strokes or more decided four of the five matchups. Toto Gana and Austin Smith had a nail-biter of a match.
Entering the back nine Gana lead by one stroke. Throughout the back nine Smith and Gana matched each other four times through the last nine holes. It came down to the final hole as Smith had an opportunity to tie the match and force a tiebreaker but Gana held his ground and made his putts to put Lynn through to the finals.
ATU did not go down without a fight as Ryan Spurlock put together his best round of golf for Arkansas Tech as he finished the round with a 67, tying his career-low round.
In the second semifinal, Florida Southern and West Florida faced off to determine who would be competing for the championship.
West Florida got off to a slow start in every matchup – never leading overall and trailing 3-2 for most of the round.
"We played well this morning but a couple matches (in the afternoon) got off to bad starts and we weren't able to recover," UWF head coach Steve Fell said to West Florida Athletics.
The Matchup of John Coultas and Jacob Huizinga looked to be the deciding one as each of the other matchups were far from close with leads as high as 11 strokes. As they entered the back nine Coultas held a one-stroke lead. But Coultas caught fire and outshout Huizinga three of four holes stretching his lead to four strokes.
Huizinga was able to gain a stroke but it was too little too late for UWF as Southern Florida advanced to the final round.
"It was an incredible season really. We had eight wins, a conference championship and a regional championship but fell just a little short of what our ultimate goal was in winning a national championship. But we got one step closer than last year so hopefully next year we will be able to go all the way." The UWF coach said.
The final round will take place tomorrow as Florida Southern looks to claim its first title since the NCAA adopted match play in 2011. Lynn is in the finals for the third time since 2011 and is looking to win its first match play title as well.
ABOUT THE NCAA Division II Championship
The National Championship of championship of
men's college golf teams. From its inception through
2010, it was a 72-hole stroke play team
with an additional award for the lowest scoring
individual competitor. The team format changed
starting in 2011 to 54 holes of stroke play followed
by an eight-team single elimination medal match
play competition. The 54-hole individual leader is
View Complete Tournament Information