Oregon, the host team for the NCAA men’s Division I Championship at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore., got a chance to crown one of its own as a national champion Monday.
And the Ducks are still in the running for the team title as well.
Aaron Wise, a sophomore from Lake Elsinore, Calif., stumbled a couple of times down the stretch, but his 1-over 71 over the 7,014-yard, par-70 Eugene Country Club layout was good enough to give him the NCAA individual title by two shots over Pac-12 rival Rico Hoey, a senior at Southern California out of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Wise’s 71 gave him a 72-hole total of 5-under 275. Hoey had his third straight 69 to finish alone in second at 3-under 277.
Wise plans to turn professional this summer, but he will do so with one of the most prestigious amateur titles in golf on his resume.
On the team side, the fun is just beginning as the field was whittled down to eight teams for match play which gets under way Tuesday and two of the top-five ranked teams finished stroke play as the top two seeds.
Big 12 champion Texas, No. 2 in the latest Golfstat rankings, will enter match play as the top seed after holding off Big Ten champion Illinois, ranked fourth. The Longhorns posted a final-round of 7-over 287 for a 14-over 1,134 total. The Fighting Illini had the day’s best score, a 4-under 276, to finish with a 15-over 1,135 total.
Texas was was led by Beau Hossler, a junior from Mission Viejo, Calif. and a member of the 2015 U.S. Walker Cup team. Hossler finished fifth in the individual chase, carding a final-round 73 to finish at even-par 280.
Also for the Longhorns, Doug Ghim, a sophomore from Arlington Heights, Ill., had a 71 to finish tied for 22nd at 6-over 286, Gavin Hall, a junior from Pittsford, N.Y., had a 73 to finish tied for 26th at 7-over 287, Scottie Scheffler, a sophomore from Dallas, had a 77 to finish tied for 40th at 9-over 289, and Taylor Funk, a redshirt sophomore from Ponte Vedra, Fla., had a 70 to finish tied for 45th at 10-over 290. Funk, the son of PGA/Champions Tour standout Fred Funk, battled back in the final two rounds after a slow start to give Texas a big boost toward grabbing the top seed.
Rounding out the elite eight are No. 12 LSU, the defending national champion which had a final-round 285 for a 16-over 1,136 total, No. 3 Southern California, which had a final-round 287, and No. 8 Vanderbilt, which had a final-round 292, as the Trojans and Commodores finished tied for fourth at 17-over 1,137, host Oregon, ranked 20th, which had a final-round 287 to finish sixth with a 19-over 1,139, and No. 19 South Carolina and No. 18 Oklahoma, both of which went under par at 3-under 277 to grab the final two spots. The Gamecocks finished seventh at 22-over 1,142 and the Sooners finished eighth at 24-over 1,144.
That left three pretty good teams – No. 7 Arizona State, No. 5 Oklahoma State and No. 11 California – out of the picture. Arizona State finished ninth at 24-over 1,148 and Oklahoma State and Cal finished tied for 10th at 30-over 1,150.
Probably the most intriguing first-round match will pit the teams that finished tied for fourth as Southern Cal and Vanderbilt, which was good enough to lead the team standings through three rounds, will square off.
Texas will meet Oklahoma (they’re sort of rivals in pretty much everything, in case you didn’t know), Illinois gets South Carolina, and LSU faces the host Ducks. The semifinals will follow upon the completion of the quarterfinal matches.
Wise, meanwhile, probably won the individual title with his spectacular 6-under 64 in Sunday’s third round. But he had to show some resolve when the made double bogey at both the 12th and 16th holes to fall back into a tie for the lead at 4-under.
But he holed a clutch 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th to get back to 5-under and was not caught.
Following Southern Cal’s Hoey in a tie for fourth at 1-under 279 were Vanderbilt’s Matthias Schwab, a junior from Austria, and Arizona State’s Jon Rahm, a senior from Spain. Schwab carded a final-round 73 while Rahm, the Pac-12 individual champion, had a 71.
Following Hossler in fifth were two of his U.S. Walker Cup teammates, Alabama’s Robby Shelton, a junior from Wilmer, Ala., and Georgia’s Lee McCoy, a senior from Clarksville, S.C., both of whom finished in a tie for sixth at 1-over 281. Shelton had a final-round 73 and McCoy carded a 72.
Illinois’ Charlie Danielson, a senior from Osceola, Wis., shared eighth place with Missouri-Kansas City’s Antoine Rozner, a senior from France, at 2-over 282. The steady Danielson had a 71 while Rozner matched par with a 70 in the final round.
Illinois’ Thomas Detry, a senior from Belgium and the Big Ten individual champion, played a big role in sparking the final-round surge by the Fighting Illini with a 3-under 67 and that also earned him a top-10 finish as he got into a tie for 10th at 3-over 283.
Detry was joined at that figure by California’s Colin Marikawa, a freshman from La Canada Flintridge, Calif., and Southern Cal’s Justin Suh, a freshman from San Jose, Calif. Marikawa had a final-round 71 while Suh, who held the 36-hole lead, carded a 73.