WVU Golf Comes Up Two Shots Short In NCAA Regional
West Virginia’s golf team came oh so close of advancing to the NCAA Championships.
Competing in the NCAA Regionals Monday through Wednesday at the University of Louisville Gold Club in Simpsonville, Kentucky, the Mountaineers fell just two shots shy of earning a spot in the 2019 NCAA Championships, which will be held May 24-29 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
WVU finished the three-day Regional in sixth place with a total score of 862. The top five teams in Louisville moved on to the NCAAs.
North Florida, which is ranked the No. 13 team in the country, edged out West Virginia for fifth place, as the Ospreys carded an 860. NFU and WVU each shot a 283 in Friday’s final round.
West Virginia actually found itself leading North Florida through the first 15 holes Wednesday, but the Mountaineers’ four scoring golfers played the final three holes at +3 while UNF’s were -4 over that same stretch. Thus West Virginia’s lead and its hope of a trip to Arkansas were erased.
Oklahoma State, which is the defending NCAA champion and again ranked No. 1 this season, went into Wednesday’s round trailing No. 11 Auburn by eight strokes, but the Cowboys powered their way to a 277 over the final 18 holes and surged past the Tigers by a total of 838-842.
Both teams will still advance to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, as will Baylor, which finished third in the Regional with an 845, host Louisville, which was fourth at 859, and North Florida, fifth at 860.
Behind WVU in the Louisville Regional was Mississippi State (866), Iowa State (867), Arizona (869), Southern Illinois (877), Arkansas State (878), New Mexico (881) and Jacksonville State (886). Five other Regionals around the country will also send qualifying teams and individuals on to Fayetteville.
As far as individuals go, West Virginia’s Matthew Sharpstene and Logan Perkins each tied for 22nd with three-round totals of 215, which was +2 for the event. Max Sear was 29th at 217, Philipp Matalari was 35th at 218, followed by Etienne Papineau, who was 44th at 220.
Sharpstene carded an eagle on No. 4 before adding a birdie on No. 7 to make the turn at three-under par Wednesday. Despite some struggles on the back nine, he came through with three more birdies to post West Virginia’s best score of the day with a one-under-par 71.
Perkins birdied five holes Wednesday to finish the round even par with for a three-day score of 70-74-71.
A senior, Sear used a trio of birdies on the front nine and another on No. 13 to finish even par in the final round of his collegiate career. He capped the event with a 54-hole total of 74-72-71.
Matlari birdied a trio of holes on the front nine Wednesday, making the turn at two-under par following a bogey on No. 9. He added two more on the back nine, but a double-bogey on No. 18 moved him to even par with a 71.
Papineau birdied a pair of holes in the final round to shoot two-over par, finishing with scores of 73-74-73.
The medalist for the Regional was Iowa State’s Tripp Kinney, who carded a three-day total of 206. Kinney will advance on to the NCAAs as the lowest scoring individual at the Regional who was not on a qualifying team.
WVU’s golf team was competing in the NCAAs for the first time in over 70 years. West Virginia restarted its golf program in 2015-16 after a 34-year hiatus. It had not participated in the NCAAs since 1947.