Golfing once again in chilly conditions in Wednesday’s final round at the NCAA Washington Regional, Florida State Men’s Golf did what it needed to do to clinch a sixth consecutive trip to NCAA Nationals.
The Seminoles shot 12-over in the final round, but it was plenty good enough to keep them in the top five of a tough regional that included five teams in the Golfstat Top 30 and nine in the Top 50. FSU shot 10-over in its three rounds of play (278-288-296).
With Wednesday’s clincher to next week’s NCAA Championships in Sugar Grove, Ill., the Seminoles extended their impressive NCAA Finals appearances streak. Only five other programs have a current streak as long as FSU’s, including Southern California, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas and Auburn.
FSU’s current streak is also the longest active one in the ACC.
“The team pulled through this week and produced some great golf,” redshirt junior and team captain Harry Ellis said. “These events are never easy and we did what we needed to do from the start to end.”
Ellis was the steady presence the Seminoles needed over the last two rounds, especially on Wednesday. He tied for fifth overall at 3-under, but his even-par 71 in the final round was much needed on a day when only Alabama was able to finish under par in the round.
Ellis was able to close his final round with two birdies in his final four holes. In what is an always-challenging par 3 on the 15th, he delivered a two on a 234-yard hole. On the par-4, 340-yard 17th, he also delivered a timely birdie. He collected four in the round and 13 overall, tying for the fourth-most among all individuals.
“I felt some pressure coming down the stretch because I thought Washington was making a charge, but the way I played the final four holes is the reason why I practice each day,” Ellis added.
Ellis also tied for second among all golfer on par 4 holes for the regional, finishing 2-under in 27 holes of play this week.
Senior Josh Lee proved that playing par golf was just fine on Wednesday, finishing 2-over for the regional and tying for 15th. After carding a 2-over 37 on the front nine, his consistent back end play was another big factor in FSU clinching an NCAA Finals spot. He recorded seven pars on the back nine to go along with a birdie and bogey that evened each other out.
Lee tied for sixth overall with 36 pars recorded during the week.
Southern California (-3), Kent State (+3), FSU (+10), Alabama (+10) and Penn State (+11) will advance to the NCAA Finals. The teams who did not advance include 13th-ranked Texas A&M, regional host and 30th-ranked Washington, No. 37 San Diego State and No. 48 UTEP.
Redshirt senior Cristobal Del Solar shot 6-over for the regional. Despite a challenging back nine, he was able to finish the regional with an important birdie on the par-4, 438-yard 18th hole. Teammate Corey Carlson wrapped up his regional at 8-over, while Bennett Baker went 9-over.
FSU begins its quest for an NCAA title on Friday, May 26, at Rich Harvest Farms. The tournament will consist of three guaranteed rounds of stroke play for 30 teams from May 26-28. On May 29, the Top 15 teams will play one final round of stroke play to determine the Top eight for match play.
On May 30-31, match play quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be conducted to determine the NCAA champion.