AUSTIN, Texas – Steven Fisk birdied his final hole to shoot an even-par 71, but 10 of the 14 teams in the field shot under par today as the Georgia Southern men’s golf team fell into a tie for 11th in the final round of regional play at the NCAA Championships at UT Golf Club.
The Eagles, who entered the day five shots out of the top-5 and a spot in the NCAA finals, wound up tied with Liberty. Top seed and third-ranked Oklahoma State (-13) shot 14-under today to win the regional, and Texas (-11) placed second in the tournament, which was held on its home course.
Led by a 10-under 61 from individual medalist Nick Voke, Iowa State (-7) shot 21-under to solidify its spot in third. Ole Miss (+4) took fourth and Arizona State (+7) finished fifth. Tenth-ranked Wake Forest (+11) shot 8-under today but placed sixth, and NC State (+12) finished seventh. Demon Deacon Will Zalatoris shot a 69 to earn a spot in the finals as the top individual not on an advancing team.
Fisk finished the tournament 1-under and tied for 15th, and Archer Price carded a 74 to tie for 25th. Brett Barron shot 72 today, Cody O’Toole carded a 74 and Jake Storey posted a 76.
UT Golf Club played tough all week with just one team – host Texas – under par entering the final round, but the course showed its vulnerability today. Wind, which gusted consistently between 10-15 miles per hour in the first two rounds, was nonexistent, and a morning shower about an hour before the first tee times softened the greens.
Pin locations were easier and tees on the longer holes were up, which made going low a necessity. Only three of the top-20 individuals shot over par today and all three shot 72. Fisk’s score was one of just two others that started with a seven. Voke’s 61 was an Iowa State school record, and the Cyclones made 26 birdies to post the lowest team score in school history.
The Eagles teed off on the 10th hole for the third straight day, and Fisk made birdie on hole 13 before running off four straight pars and making the turn 2-over. The sophomore birdied the first hole and made a 5-foot birdie on 9 to finish even.
Barron made two birdies on his first nine holes and made the turn 1-over. The freshman made two birdies on his last nine, including the par-5 9th hole, to finish 1-over.
O’Toole made a team-leading five birdies, and Price played his first seven holes 1-under and was even through 11. Storey struggled out of the gates but played his final nine holes 1-over.
Quotables from coach Carter Collins
On the season
“We had an incredible spring when you look at what we had to do just to get here. I think it was one of the best springs Georgia Southern has had as a whole in a long time, and it was fun to be a part of. We had two runner-up finishes in our biggest events of the spring, and we needed every bit of them to get into a regional. With our backs against the wall, to play like we did, I think it was just a historical spring.”
On senior Cody O’Toole
“Cody was a big personality, a very good team leader, a team captain and everything we could have asked for. This program is in a better place because he came here, and that’s one of the best compliments I can give somebody.”
On the returning roster
“We have four guys coming back with NCAA Regional experience, which is pretty tough to come by. We may have some good momentum, but whatever we do next year, we’ll have to earn. We need to have a good summer and be ready to compete hard in the fall and stretch this thing out one more week next year.”
On the course today
“Scoring was incredible today. I’m a little surprised at today’s setup because it seemed like the first two days, they set the course up as hard as they could and then today, it was almost set up as easy as they could make it. At the end of the day, we were in the mix on the last day of regionals, and that’s so much fun to be a part of. I couldn’t be happier with the way we handled ourselves all week, including today. We just didn’t quite do enough to stretch our season out one more week.”
Fisk, Price, Storey and Barron all return to next year’s roster along with junior Jonas Vaisanen, sophomore Crawford Simmons and freshmen Luukas Alakulppi and Alexander DeRosa.