Medalist winner Andy Zhang of Florida
(Florida Athletics Photo)
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA (April 27, 2018) - 10th ranked LSU turned in a comfortable final round 3-under to finish as the only team under-par and as a result earned the top-seed for the match play portion of the SEC Championship. LSU completed stroke-play 6-under and nine shots clear of No. 7 Florida and No. 3 Vanderbilt, both of whom were 3-over.
Also making it through to match play are No. 8 Auburn (+8), No. 17 Arkansas (+8), No. 6 Alabama (+8), Ole Miss (+11) and No. 2 Texas A&M (+11).
Of the teams to reach match play the most impressive Friday move came from Texas A&M. Following the first round the Aggies were nine shots out of the top-eight and entering the final round they still were still two shots outside the final spot. Of the teams to reach the quarterfinals Arkansas was the only other qualifying team to jump into the bracket on Friday.
Top-seeded LSU, in search of their sixth conference title, were led through three rounds of stroke-play by a trio of top-10 performers; Luis Gagne (T3; -3), Philip Barbaree (T10; E) and Jacob Bergeron (T10; E).
7:30 am-No. 1 LSU vs. No. 8 Texas A&M
8:20 am-No. 2 Florida vs. No. 7 Ole Miss
7:30 am-No. 4 Auburn vs. No. 5 Arkansas
8:20-No. 3 Vanderbilt vs. No. 6 Alabama
In the battle for medalist honors 54-holes proved not to be enough with Florida's Andy Zhang and Cecil Wegener of Ole Miss needing a playoff to settle matters. Tied at 5-under at the end of regulation the playoff commenced on the par-4 18th tee, however after playing the hole twice there still was more golf to be played as each competitor parred the hole twice.
Play moved to the par-3 17th where after both players had lengthy birdie tries Wegener lipped his par putt out allowing Zhang to take the individual title with a third playoff hole par.
The win for Zhang was the first of his college career, with his best previous finish coming at the 2017 Trinity Forest where he tied for third. A sophomore, Zhang started the day four back before charging into a tie for the lead with a 4-under 66. Zhang opened with rounds of 71-68 and was struggling early on Friday sitting at 1-over through seven holes.
A birdie on the 8th saw Zhang begin to slowly turn his day around and then on the back nine he really found his swing playing the homeward side in a flawless 4-under 31 with birdies dropping on Nos. 11, 12, 14 and 15.
Wegener started the day in the lead at 5-under and closed with an even-par 70 that included four birdies and four bogeys. The Ole Miss freshman got as low as 7-under with birdies on the 11th, 12th and 15th holes only to fall back with bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17.
A quartet of players finished tied for third at 3-under, Lorenzo Scalise (Tennessee), Gagne (LSU), Trace Crowe (Auburn) and Wiliam Buhl (Arkansas).
ABOUT THE SEC Championship
54-hole stroke play tournament crowns an individual
champion, then eight teams advance to match play
determine the SEC team champion.
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