Men's golf falls two strokes short of a bid to the NCAA Championships, Cunningham advances individually
After three days at the NCAA Regionals in Kissimmee, Florida the Arizona men’s golf team finished sixth place overall, which fell just two strokes short of a tie for fifth place that would have advanced the team to the NCAA Championships.
The Wildcats came out strong on the final day of the tournament by posting an overall team score of 13-under par. The final round score put the ‘Cats at 18-under par on the tournament and moved the team from eighth to sixth place overall.
Kent State slid in ahead of Arizona and finished the tournament at 20-under par, enough to solidify the fifth place spot at the regional and a trip to Oklahoma for the NCAA Championships.
Arizona won’t totally be left out of the NCAA Championships though, as senior George Cunningham will advance as an individual competitor. Cunningham tied for sixth place posting a nine-under par tournament score.
On day one in Florida, Cunningham came out firing and posted a first round score of a 67. The senior cooled off a bit on day two of regionals after posting an even par score of 72. Cunningham used his final round score of a 68 to secure sole possession of sixth place and a bid to the NCAA Championship for the second time of his career.
While the five other players who competed for Arizona don’t get a chance to continue their season, they were still part of one of the best rounds in the last 10 years of Arizona golf. UA sophomore Brad Reeves tied for 14th place along with Arizona freshman Trevor Werbylo.
Reeves shot a tournament score of four-under par with the final round being his best round. On the final day of the tournament, Reeves shot a three-under par score of 69 and moved nine spots up the leaderboard.
Werbylo also saved the last day of the tournament for his best round by posting a final round score of 69 as well. Werbylo impressed in just his first year as a Wildcat and shows promise as a future leader in his seasons to come. Freshman Tianlang Guan for Arizona tied for 26th place, using his final round score of 70 to solidify his spot just outside the top 25 on the leaderboard.
Sophomore David Laskin rounded out the leaderboard for the Wildcats by placing tied for 32nd place. Laskin, who finished at one-under par on the tournament, struggled on days one and two by posting a 74 and 72 respectively but came to play on day three with a score of 69.
The final round team score was UA's second lowest single-day team score in the last eight seasons, according to Arizona Athletics. As the ‘Cats prepare for next season, one thing the team can focus on is their high level of play from freshman and sophomores, their ability to score low on the final round of tournaments and their low scores on par 5’s. In the final round, Arizona totaled eight birdies and two eagles on par fives at the regional.
The University of Florida took home first place at the Florida Regional with an overall team score of 42 under par. University of Central Florida took second place at the regional at 30 under par.
Cunningham and the rest of the golfers who qualified for the NCAA Championships will travel to the Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The NCAA Championships starts on Friday, May 25 and goes until May 30 when the NCAA Champion teams and individuals will be decided for the 2017-2018 season.
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