May 25, 2016
EUGENE – The Oregon men’s golf team will host the NCAA Championship, set to begin this Friday and run through next Wednesday at Eugene Country Club. The Ducks, competing as the No. 20 seed, are set to tee off for the first round at 7:22 a.m. PT on Friday, before getting underway at 12:42 p.m. PT Saturday for their second round. Golf Channel will cover the event live starting Monday afternoon.
Oregon’s practice round will begin at 10 a.m. on the 12th hole. Admission to the practice round day is free of charge.
Course: Eugene Country Club
Course Info: Par-72, 7,014 yards
Format: Tandem Start
Oregon Lineup: Aaron Wise, Thomas Lim, Sulman Raza, Zach Foushee, Edwin Yi
As expected, the NCAA Championship boasts a strong field, with 22 of the top 25 teams in the country having qualified. There will be no shortage of individual talent either, as nine of the top 10 amateurs in the world, including No. 1 Jon Rahm (Arizona State), No. 2 Maverick McNealy (Stanford), No. 3 Lee McCoy, No. 4 Beau Hossler (Texas), No. 5 Robby Shelton (Alabama) and No. 6 Aaron Wise (Oregon) are set to descend upon Eugene Country Club with their teams to compete for a national title. Other teams featured in the field include Pac-12 foes No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 USC, 7th-seeded Arizona State and No. 11 seed California.
All 30-teams will play 54 holes beginning Friday, May 27, with a cut to 15 teams after the third round on Sunday. An individual champion will be crowned after the fourth round of stroke play on Monday, with the top-eight teams advancing to the match play portion of the team championship.
The quarterfinals of match play will begin on Tuesday, May 31, immediately followed by the semifinals match up after lunch. The championships will then take place on Wednesday, June 1.
The Golf Channel is scheduled to deliver live coverage of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships, beginning May 30 and will also have daily highlights and recaps of each round of stroke-play.
ABOUT THE DUCKS
The Ducks are coming off an impressive week at the NCAA Regionals, in which they finished second to clinch their trip to the NCAA Championship. The Ducks posted asixth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championship last weekend to follow their sixth top-five finish of the season the Western Intercollegiate, where Aaron Wise paced the Ducks to third place behind his second consecutive runner-up finish. Oregon has tallied three consecutive top-five-or-better finishes heading into this weekend’s Pac-12 Championship, including a second-place performance at the Northwest Classic in Canby, Ore., led by junior Sulman Raza, who earned his first collegiate win.
Oregon posted a 10th-place finish at the Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las Vegas, Nev., in March to follow a fourth-place mark at the Southwestern Jones Invitational. Oregon turned in a third-place finish at the Amer Ari Invitational in February, where Wise, Oregon’s active program tournament wins leader, picked up his second win of the season and fourth win of his career. Oregon has one win under its belt from a successful appearance at the Husky Invitational last fall where the Ducks took home a share of the tournament title for a second consecutive season. Oregon finished third at The Jackrabbit behind a strong performance from Wise that saw the sophomore earn co-medalist honors. The Ducks wrapped up the fall season with 10th and sixth place finishes at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational and The Gifford, respectively.
Oregon returns nine players from a successful 2014-15 campaign that saw the team record five tournament wins, tying them for second overall on the program single-season wins list. The Ducks wrapped up the 2015 season at the NCAA Championships in Bradenton, Fla., where they finished 23rd overall. The Ducks are led by 10th-year head coach Casey Martin and third-year assistant coach Van Williams.
OREGON AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Oregon is competing in the NCAA Championship for the third straight year, a feat the Ducks hadn’t completed since the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons. It is Oregon’s seventh trip to the championship in the program’s 10 seasons under head coach Casey Martin. The Ducks’ highest finish under Martin came in 2010 when the top-ranked squad carded a 3-under 861 in stroke play and knocked off Washington in the quarterfinals before falling to Oklahoma State, 3-1-1, in the semifinals of match play. Oregon’s highest finish at the NCAA Championship was fourth in 1959 at Eugene Country Club. The last time the Ducks competed at the championship at ECC was 1978, when they finished 11th.
LAST TIME OUT
The Oregon men’s golf team posted its lowest score of the season Wednesday at The Gallery Golf Club to finish second in the Tucson Regional and qualify for the NCAA Golf Championship.
The Ducks fired a 14-under 274 to tie for the low round of the Tucson Regional and finish second at 17-under overall with a 54-hole tally of 847. Oregon finished 10 strokes ahead of third-place UAB, while No. 13 California (-2) and No. 12 Wake Forest (-1) rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth, respectively. Top-ranked Stanford took home the regional title at 31-under behind Franklin Huang, who earned medalist honors at 12-under for the week.
Oregon started hot, going bogey-free on the front nine to hit the turn at 10-under as a team. Impressively, no Duck would card a bogey until the 12th hole. Among counting scores for the Ducks, the team dropped in 19 birdies to only five bogeys for the day.
The Ducks’ strong finish was led by a pair of 67’s from sophomore Aaron Wise and freshman Edwin Yi.
Entering the day at even par after posting a couple of 72’s over the first two days of regional action, Wise came out swinging in his final round. The Lake Elsinore, Calif., native dropped in three straight birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes before wrapping up the front with a birdie on the par-5 ninth to reach the turn at 4-under. Wise would card a 1-under 35 on the back to get to 5-under for the tournament and finish in seventh overall.
Yi also saved his best round of the week for Wednesday, following up two 75’s from his first two rounds with a 67 to finish in a tie for 22nd at 1-over. The freshman shined, sinking five birdies to no bogeys to tie Wise for the course’s low round of the day.
Junior Thomas Lim was the low Duck for the week, finishing in a tie for fourth at 6-under overall after a 1-over 73 in his final round. It marks the highest finish for Lim this season, besting his seventh-place performance at the season-opening Husky Invitational, while also serving as his highest finish since tying for third at last season’s Desert Mountain Intercollegiate.
Turning in a 71 for Wednesday’s third round, Sulman Raza finished off the event with a 1-under 215 (71-73-71) to tie for 12th. Raza birdied the par-5 16th and par-4 17th to get back under par before the conclusion of his round and record his fourth top-12 finish of the season.
After turning in a tough 79 in his second round Tuesday, senior Zach Foushee bounced back with an impressive 3-under 69 to wrap up his week. The West Linn, Ore., product remained poised throughout the day, getting to as low as 4-under after converting four birdies through 13 holes before carding his only bogey of the round on the par-4 18th to finish at 5-over for the tournament in a tie for 38th.
Much like head coach Casey Martin expressed after Aaron Wise’s third-place finish at the season-opening Husky Invitational, it seems the sophomore has developed into an elite player in the collegiate ranks. Wise has won two individual titles this season, and has been amazingly consistent, finishing in the top three or higher in six of his 12 appearances this season. With his wins at the Jackrabbit last fall and the Amer Ari Invitational in February, Wise became the second player in Oregon history to win two individual titles in the same season (Daniel Miernicki – 2009-10, 2011-12) and the second player to win four total in his career. With his next win, Wise will tie Miernicki’s record of five.
WISE’S BIG WEEK
Oregon golf sophomore Aaron Wise earned a win at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s British Columbia Qualifying Tournament held at the Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community to achieve exempt status for the 2016 Mackenzie Tour season.
Having held a commanding lead following each of the second and third rounds, Wise fired an even-par 72 in Friday’s final round to finish off the win with a 14-under 274. The Lake Elsinore, Calif., native opened the week with a first-round 65 on Tuesday to sit a stroke back from Ontario’s Eric Hawerchuk after 18 holes. From that point, Wise took over, carding a 68 and 69 on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, to hold a four-stroke lead over Texas A&M product Conrad Shindler after moving day.
Wise followed up his week in Canada by earning medalist honors at the 2016 U.S. Open Local Qualifier held at Pronghorn Resort on Tuesday to, along with teammate Sulman Raza, advance to the Sectional Qualifier at Royal Oaks Country Club in Vancouver, Wash., on June 6. Other Ducks competing included Sam Foust, Zach Foushee, Nigel Lett, Sulman Raza and head coach Casey Martin. Foust, a freshman from Edina, Minn., finished just outside the cut line at 1-over in a tie for ninth.
“WISE BY NAME AND NATURE”
Oregon golf sophomore Aaron Wise won the Australian Master of the Amateurs at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in January. Wise posted a four-round tally of 283 at the event to finish at 5-under for the week, two strokes better than runner-up Jonathan Thomson from the United Kingdom.
The win is the latest in a string of strong performances on the amateur circuit from the Lake Elsinore, Calif., native in last several months. Wise, the eighth-ranked amateur in the world, took home the title at the Pacific Coast Amateur last July and tallied second-place finishes at the Western Amateur and SCGA Amateur Championship.
WISE NAMED HOGAN AWARD SEMIFINALIST
Oregon golf sophomore Aaron Wise was named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2016 Ben Hogan Award, the Colonial Country Club, Friends of Golf and the Golf Coaches Association of America announced last month. Wise is Oregon’s first Hogan semifinalist since the award revised its criteria to its current standard of honoring the most outstanding amateur collegiate golfer for the 2001-02 season. Arizona State’s Jon Rahm would go on to receive the award.
The most prestigious award in men’s college golf, the Ben Hogan Award is issued annually to the top men’s collegiate golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the past 12 months. The Ben Hogan Award Selection Committee is comprised of leaders in professional, amateur and collegiate golf.
Aside from Wise, other 2016 semifinalists for the award include Charlie Danielson (Illinois), Sam Horsfield (Florida), Beau Hossler (Texas), Michael Johnson (Auburn), Lee McCoy (Georgia ), Maverick McNealy (Stanford), Matt NeSmith (South Carolina), Jon Rahm (Arizona State) and Robby Shelton (Alabama).