Thomas Dunne with his mother after the Vols big day.
May 18, 2013
NCAA Regional Central
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Don't call it a comeback, but the Tennessee men's golf team came storming back on Saturday to finish in 4th place at the NCAA Men's Golf Regional and earn a berth in the NCAA Championship.
"We're just so proud of our team. This was a superb team effort," head coach Jim Kelson said. "We didn't start out great, but we came back and finished strong. We've been through a lot of adversity lately and I thought this team deserved to make it to the national championship."
The Vols began the day in a 7th place after a less than desirable second round. However, Tennessee rallied to finish in 4th place after carding a total of 300-304-288--892 (+28). Their 4th place finish was key as the top-5 regional finishers advanced to the NCAA Championship in Atlanta.
The Vols were led in their final round comeback by All-SEC First-Teamer Oliver Goss, who finished with 11 birdies at the University Club Golf Course. Throughout the tournament, Goss sat in striking distance of the individual leaders. However, he was never able to get over the hump due to bogeys down the back nine. Nevertheless, Goss finished strong in 5th place by carding rounds of 73-73-70--216 (E).
"Oliver is a special player. He has made our team," Kelson said. "Today, he did a great job. He has the ability to go out and shoot a 4-under par round and that's what we focused on. Casey VanDamme went with him today and did an excellent job coaching him."
Oliver Goss (@olliegossAUS) May 18, 2013
The NCAA Championship berth was particularly special to Tennessee's two seniors Rick Lamb and Jay Vandeventer. The senior duo has been a consistent force for the Vols, starting in every lineup this entire season. Tennessee's trip to the NCAA Championship will mark Lamb's first ever appearance and Vandeventer's first since 2011.
"Our seniors were big for us," Kelson said. "It was big goal for our seniors, and all of us, to get back to the NCAA Championship. So I was especially happy for our seniors. They deserve it. It definitely is a special thing and it's something you will always remember."
Over the course of the Baton Rouge Regional, Vandeventer posted rounds of 75-76-73--224 (+8). Lamb carded rounds of 76-78-71--225 (+9). Both Lamb and Vaneventer's final rounds were vital pieces to Tennessee's comeback.
"I got off to a little shaky start. I hit some poor shots and my course management wasn't great," Vandeventer said. "But halfway through our first nine holes today, I just told myself `you can either give up now or fight until it's over' because in these Regionals you never know what can happen. I came back and got a few putts to drop, hit a few good tee balls and then just played solid from there."
Sophomore Thomas Dunne and freshman Michael Nagy rounded out the Volunteer lineup at the NCAA Regional. Nagy finished tied for 37th after carding a 76-79-74--229 (+13), and Dunne finished tied for 65th after shooting a 81-77-81--239 (+23).
"They dug deep today and everyone contributed," Kelson said. "Everyone stepped their game up on a very demanding course. We all just felt like it was our time and we needed to do something about it."
"The entire team just had to grind it out with the pressure on our backs," Vanderventer said. "We talked last night that we had nothing to lose and just go out here today and post some good numbers. We really had a good draw and executed on holes 15 through 18, which was critical. We all just did a really good job of staying in the moment and realizing that every shot mattered."
The University of Alabama had trailed the University of Florida all weekend. However, the tides turned today as the Crimson Tide rattled off a final round score of 282 (-6) to come from behind and defeat the Gators by six strokes. The Crimson Tide also had the individual champion in Scott Strohmeyer.
The five teams that qualified are: Alabama, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, and Coastal Carolina.
Tennessee will now travel to Atlanta next week to compete in the NCAA Championship. This will mark the Vols seventh trip to the NCAA finals under Kelson. Previously, Kelson has taken the Volunteers to the NCAA finals in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and now 2013.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP BASIC INFORMATION Where: Capital City Club - Crabapple Course (Bermuda fairways and rough, bentgrass greens) When: May 27-June 2, 2013 Who: 30 teams advancing from six regional tournaments held around the country May 16-18 Format: Three rounds of stroke play May 28-30 (18 holes each day), top eight teams advance to match play championship May 31-June 2 Course information: 7,320 yards, par 70 Tickets: Tournament book $50 adults/$35 youths and seniors; daily ticket $15 adult/$10 youths and seniors
Until the NCAA Championship, Volunteer fans can keep up with the team by following @Vol_Golf on Twitter.
|TEAM SCORES (Final)|
|1.||#2 Alabama||296-290-282--868 (+4)|
|2.||#10 Florida||286-292-296--874 (+10)|
|3.||#17 LSU||303-294-293--890 (+26)|
|4.||#38 TENNESSEE||300-304-288--892 (+28)|
|5.||#50 Coastal Carolina||302-295-297--894 (+30)|
|T-6.||#47 South Alabama||296-297-303--896 (+32)|
|T-6.||#26 Houston||300-296-300--896 (+32)|
|8.||#35 Northwestern||303-304-300--907 (+43)|
|10.||#23 Mississippi State||310-302-297--909 (+45)|
|11.||Wichita State||304-309-307--920 (+56)|
|12.||Southeastern Louisiana||308-309-308--925 (+61)|
|13.||Houston Baptist||313-311-309--933 (+69)|
|INDIVIDUAL LEADERS (Final)|
|1.||Scott Strohmeyer, Alabama||70-73-69--212 (-4)|
|2||Bobby Wyatt, Alabama||75-73-66--214 (-2)|
|T-3.||TJ Vogel, Florida||70-71-74--215 (-1)|
|T-3.||Tyler McCumber, Florida||70-72-73--215 (-1)|
|UT SCORES (Final)|
|5.||Oliver Goss||73-73-70--216 (E)|
|T-17.||Jay Vandeventer||75-76-73--224 (+8)|
|T-24.||Rick Lamb||76-78-71--225 (+9)|
|T-37.||Mike Nagy||76-79-74--229 (+13)|
|T-65.||Thomas Dunne||81-77-81--239 (+23)|