Junior Cole Miller, a Northwestern Lehigh product, stamped himself as a contender for an NCAA individual title by cruising to the individual crown at the Washington Regional Wednesday, in the process leading Penn State to fifth-place finish in the team standings and a berth in the NCAA Championship.
Miller fired a 5-under 66 at the 6,885-yard, par-71 Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, Wash. to finish with a 7-under 206 that was three shots clear of the field. He’s the first Penn State player to win a regional crown since T.J. Howe did it in 2010.
It is also Penn State’s first trip to the NCAA Championship since 2010. The NCAA Championship tees off May 26 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. The Lions, No. 49 in the latest Golfstat rankings, saved their best for last as they carded a 1-over 285 to finish at 11-over 863.
In addition to Miller’s 66, Penn State got a huge boost from Ryan Davis, a freshman from Berkeley Heights, N.J. who carded a 4-under 68 in the final round and finished tied for eighth at 1-under 213.
Charles Huntzinger, a sophomore from Duluth, Ga., finished tied for 17th at 220 after a final round of 2-over 73, Alec Bard, a freshman from New Hartford, N.Y., finished tied for 51st at 228 after a final-round 79 and sophomore JD Hughes, a Carlisle product, came up big in the final round with a counting 76 that left him tied for 65th at 234.
No. 1 Southern California, the top seed in the regional, captured the team title as the Trojans posted a final round of 2-over 296 to finish with a 3-under 849 total. No. 12 Kent State was the runnerup, carding a final round of 2-under 286 for a 3-over 855 total.
The Trojans were led by Sean Crocker, a junior from Westlake Village, Calif. and the No. 11 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, and Justin Suh, a sophomore from San Jose, Calif., both of whom were in a group of three players who shared second place at 4-under 209, three shots behind Penn State’s Miller.
Also for USC, Rico Hoey, a senior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. and No. 14 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, finished tied for fifth at 3-under 210, Cheng Jin, a freshman from China, finished tied for 38th at 223 and Jonah Texeira, a junior form Porter Ranch, Calif., finished tied for 47th at 227.
The third member of the trio tied for second was Kent State’s Ian Holt, a junior from Show, Ohio who carded a final round of 2-under 69.
One of Southern Cal’s Pac-12 rivals, No. 4 Stanford, came storming from behind to get a share of the team title at the Stanford Golf Course with No. 9 Baylor.
The Cardinal posted a final round of 6-under 274 over their 6,727-yard, par-70 Stanford Golf Course layout to finish at 17-under 823. Baylor finished up with a 1-over 281 to match Stanford’s 17-under 823 total.
No. 27 Pepperdine matched par in the final round with a 280 to claim third place at 5-under 835, 12 shots behind the co-champions. No. 15 Oklahoma finished fourth, the Sooners matching par in the final round with a 280 for a 3-under 837 total and No. 33 North Carolina grabbed the final ticket to Rich Harvest Farms with a final round of 3-under 277 for a 3-over 843 total.
Maverick McNealy, No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf ranking, was Stanford’s highest finisher in the individual standings as he carded a final-round 70 to finish alone in third at 8-under 202.
But the critical finishing rounds for Stanford came from Brandon Wu, a sophomore from Danville, Calif., and Franklin Huang, a junior form Poway, Calif., both of whom finished tied for fourth at 4-under 206. Wu had a final round of 5-under 65 while Huang checked in with a 2-under 68.
Viraat Badhwar a senior from Australia, finished tied for 12th at even-par 210 after a final round 71, and Isaiah Salinda, a sophomore from South San Francisco, Calif. who finished tied for 20th at 2-over 212 after a final round of 2-over 72.
Baylor was led by Cooper Dossey, a freshman from Austin, Texas, who was the runnerup to individual champion Brad Dalke, a sophomore from Norman, Okla. Dossey had a final round of 3-under 67 to finish with a 9-under 201 total. But there was no catching Dalke, who completed a dominating performance with a 1-under 69 that gave him a 12-under 198.
A pair of Baylor players were in the group tied for seventh at 3-under 207. Matthew Perrine, a junior from Austin, Texas, had a final round of 2-over 72 and Hunter Shattuck, a senior from Jacksonville, Texas had a final round of 1-over 71.
Also for the Bears, Braden Bailey, a sophomore from Groves, Texas, finished tied for 27th at 214 after a final-round 74 and Garrett May, a sophomore from Hope, Ark., finished tied for 38th at 216 after a final-round 71.
Bailey might very well have won Baylor a piece of the team title with his middle round of 6-under 64.
In the West Lafayette Regional, a final round of 11-over 299 was good enough to give No. 17 UNLV the team title at 8-over 872. No. 20 Auburn had a 296 to claim runnerup honors at 11-over 875, No. 8 Illinois, the Big Ten champion, carded a 6-over 294 to finish third at 14-over 878, No. 44 New Mexico posted a 310 to finish fourth at 16-over 880 and host Purdue, ranked 38th, had a final-round 303 to claim the last ticket to Rich Harvest Farms with an 882 total.
The Runnin’ Rebels were led by Shintaro Ben, a junior from San Jose, Calif. who finished tied for third in the individual chase at 2-under 214 after a final-round 75 over a 7,411-yard, par-72 Kampen Course at the Brick Boilermaker Golf Complex that appears to have been a pretty tough customer in Wednesday’s final round.
John Oda, a junior from Honolulu, Hawaii, finished fifth at 1-under 215 after a final-round 75 and Harry Hall, a sophomore from England, took sixth at even-par 216 after a final-round 73. Justin Kim, a freshman from Fullerton, Calif., and Taylor Montgomery, a senior from Henderson, Nev. both finished in the group tied for 54th at 230. Kim finished up with a 79 while Montgomery’s final-round 76 was a counter for UNLV.
New Mexico’s Andrej Bevins, a senior from Elk Grove, Calif., and Illinois’ Nick Hardy, a junior from Northbrook, Ill., shared the individual title as both ended up at 3-under 213. Bevins carded a final-round 74 while Hardy moved up with his 2-under 70.
Auburn’s Mark Gilchrist, a senior from Southlake, Texas, shared third with UNLV’s Ben at 2-under 214. Gilchrist finished up with a 2-under 70.
In the Austin Regional, No. 3 Oklahoma State, the top seed, finally caught host Texas, ranked 16th, to capture the team title with a 13-under 879, in the process gaining a measure of revenge from the Big 12 Championship when the Cowboys finished a shot behind the conference champion Longhorns.
The Cowboys fired a final round of 14-under 270 while Texas carded a final round of 8-under 276 to finish two shots behind Oklahoma State with an 11-under 841 total. No. 50 Iowa State fired a ridiculous 21-under 863 in the final round to take third at 7-under 845, No. 22 Mississippi finished fourth at 2-over 854 after a final-round 278 and No. 26 Arizona State grabbed the last ticket to Rich Harvest Farms with a 7-over 859 total after a final round of 8-under 276.
The Cowboys had three players finish in the group tied for fifth at 3-under 210. Zachary Olsen, a senior from Cordova, Tenn., fired a final round of 4-under 67, Kristoffer Ventura, a junior from Norway, posted a final round of 2-under 69 and Viktor Hovland, a freshman from Norway, matched Olsen’s final-round 67.
Also for Oklahoma State, Zach Bauchou, a sophomore from Forest, Va., finished tied for 10th at 2-under 211 after a final round of 4-under 67, and Hayden Wood, a sophomore from Edmond, Okla., finished tied for 31st at 6-over 219 after a final-round 72.
The individual title went to Iowa State’s Nick Voke, a senior from New Zealand who sparked the Cyclones’ final-round surge with a scintillating 10-under 61 that left him with a 14-under 199 total.
Texas had the second- and third-place finishers as Doug Ghim, a junior from Arlington Heights, Ill., was the ruunerup at 9-under 204 after a final round of 4-under 67 and Scottie Scheffler, a junior from Dallas, took third at 8-under 205 after a final round of 5-under 66.
Mississippi’s Braden Thornberry finished fourth at 4-under 209 after a final round of 2-under 69.
In the Baton Rouge Regional, No. 6 LSU, the host and the top seed, completed its wire-to-wire run to the team title with a 6-over 294 in the final round to finish at 2-over 866. The 7,3424-yard, par-72 University Club course got a little tougher each day.
No. 19 Duke was the runnerup at 10-over 874 after a final-round 295, reigning national champion Oregon, ranked seventh, finished third at 15-over 879 after a final-round 291 and No. 18 Virginia finished fourth at 17-over 881 after a final-round 301.
Baton Rouge was the only regional that needed a playoff to punch the final ticket to Rich Harvest Farms and No. 42 Jacksonville got the nod after finishing in a tie with No. 29 Northwestern at 19-over 883. Jacksonville carded a final round of 1-over 289.
LSU also accounted for the individual champion, also in wire-to-wire fashion as Sam Burns, a sophomore from Shreveport, La., struggled a little with a 3-over 75, but held on for the victory with a 4-under 212 total.
The Tigers’ Luis Gagne, a sophomore from Orlando, Fla., finished in a group of three players tied for third at even-par 216 after a final round of 1-under 71. Eric Ricard, a senior from Shreveport, finished tied for seventh at 3-over 219 after a final round of 2-over 74, Philip Barbaree, a freshman from Shreveport, finished tied for 24th at 224 after a final-round 74 and Brandon Pierce, a senior from Covington, La., finished tied for 39th at 227 after struggling to an 80 in the final round.
Oregon’s Wyndham Clark, a redshirt senior from Denver, was the runnerup in the individual chase as the Pac-12 champion closed with a 1-under 71 to finish a shot behind LSU’s Burns at 3-under 213.
Sharing third with LSU’s Gagne were the Duke pair of Alex Smalley, a sophomore from Wake Forest, N.C., and Chandler Eaton, a freshman from Alpharetta, Ga. Smalley posted a final-round 74 while Eaton checked in with a 1-over 73.
In the College Grove Regional, No. 47 UCF, seeded eighth in the region, carded a final round of 3-over 291 to sneak past top seed Vanderbilt, the No. 2 team in the country, No. 39 Kennesaw State and No. 14 Clemson for the team title.
The Knights finished with a 1-under 863 total over The Grove Club’s 7,383-yard, par-72 layout. Southeast Conference champion Vanderbilt struggled to a 301, Kennesaw State matched par with a 288 and Clemson carded a 5-over 293 in the final round as all three landed on a 1-over 865 total.
No. 35 Lipscomb claimed the final berth to the NCAA Championship as the Bisons carded a final round of 9-over 297 to finish with a 5-over 869 total.
UCF was led by Manuel Elvira, a junior from Spain who finished tied for third in the individual standings at 5-under 211 after matching par in the final round with a 72. Kyler Tate, a sophomore from Winter Garden, Fla., finished alone in fifth at 4-uneer 212 after a final round of 1-over 73.
Bobby Bai, a freshman from China, struggled to a final-round 77, but finished tied for 39th at 224. But Juuso Kahlos, a junior from Finland, and Ryan Stovash, a senior from Orlando, Fla., picked up the team with respective final rounds of even-par 72 and 2-over 74. Kahlos finished tied for 48th overall at 226 and Stovash ended up tied for 52nd at 227.
Lipscomb’s Dawson Armstrong, a junior from Brentwood, Tenn., claimed the individual title. After rounds of 69 and 65, Armstrong struggled to a final-round 74, but his 8-under 208 total was good enough for a two-shot victory.
Kennesaw State’s Chris Guglielmo, a sophomore from Cumming, Ga., fired a final round of 4-under 68 to claim runnerup honors at 6-under 210. Sharing third place with UCF’s Elvira at 5-under 211 was Vanderbilt’s Patrick Martin, who struggled to a final-round 76.