HUTCHINSON, Kan. – The Oregon men’s golf team wrapped up the 2013-14 season on Monday in 14th-place finish at the NCAA Championships thanks to a fury of birdies in the final round of stroke play at Prairie Dunes Country Club. The Ducks raced off to a 4-under score on Sunday before finishing the third and final round 9-under par behind Zach Foushee’s career-low round of 65.
The Ducks’ 9-under 271 on Monday in the third round of the NCAA Championships was the second-lowest round at the tournament. Stanford, the tournament No. 1-seed heading into match-play, shot the lowest round in stroke-play with a 12-under 268 in the second round.
"Great way to go out,” said head coach Casey Martin. “I’m proud of our guys. They were all exhausted and they came out playing the second lowest round in the tournament.”
UO wrapped up its season in 14th-place at the championships with a final card of 284-297-271—852 (+12) on the par-70, 6,941 yards course. The conclusion of the championships marked the first time Oregon has not finished in the top 10 all season. The last time Oregon finished outside of the top 10 dated back to early last season when UO finished 11th at the Amer Ari Invitational. The Ducks had finished in the top 10 in 21-straight tournaments until Monday’s finish.
The 14th-place finish marked the third-best finish the Ducks have had at the NCAA Championships under the direction of Martin. The last two appearances for Oregon at the championships resulted in a tie for third in match play. Oregon’s team score of 271 was also the fifth lowest team score in program history.
Foushee was dialed in on the front nine of the final round, sinking back-to-back birdies to finish the round 5-under. The sophomore’s approach on the par-5 seventh hole landed in a thick brush just to the left of the pin, but Foushee was able to lay it in just a foot away from the pin to finish the season with a birdie.
His 5-under 65 card is tied for the fourth lowest low round all-time in program history and the second-best low round for UO this season.
Brandon McIver progressively got better throughout the tournament, finishing today’s round with 3-under 67. The Billings, Mont., native was 1-over heading into this morning’s round, but was able to maneuver a seven-foot putt on the par-4 16th hole to break even. He then hit par on the next seven holes before finishing the round with a birdie and eagle on the seventh hole to complete the tournament 3-over 213.
Sulman Raza rode a hot hand into his final nine holes at Prairie Dunes Country Club at 3-under, but went back and forth in his final nine holes. The sophomore dropped to 1-under after bogeying two of his first three holes on Monday, but birdied the par-3 second hole to push him 2-under. However, the Eugene, Ore., product bogeyed his final hole of the tournament to finish 1-under on the day.
Jonathan Woo, the lone Duck with championship experience, had his best round of the tournament shooting even par. Woo was solid on the back nine, shooting par the entire time and capped it off with a three foot birdie on the 18th hole to go 1-under. After making the turn, Woo bogeyed the first hole and stayed at even par the rest of the day.
Thomas Lim had a rough start to the final round of play shooting 4-over heading into the turn. The freshman however was able to get a couple back on the front nine with a pair of birdies on the first four holes. Lim finished the round 2-over the rest of the way after washing out his bogey on the par-4 fifth hole with birdie on the eighth hole.
Despite missing out on the match-play round, the future is bright for the Oregon Ducks. Four of the five golfers playing in this weekend’s NCAA Championships were underclassman with Woo the only junior on the team.
"It gives us great momentum heading into next year,” said Martin regarding UO’s great finish on Sunday. “They are all coming back. To shoot the low round in that last wave is very significant for us."