Utah Golf Finishes Seventh in NCAA Regionals


Ute golfer Nathan Wunderli. (Chronicle archives)

By Sean Overton, Sports Editor


Utah, along with seven other Pac-12 competitors, competed in the 2021 NCAA Golf Regional competition. Pac-12 champions and No. 4 seed Arizona, No. 7 seed Washington, No. 9 seed Utah, and No. 10 seed Oregon all competed in the Cle Elum Regional, hosted by Washington.

No. 2 seed Arizona State, No. 6 seed Stanford, and No. 7 seed Oregon State competed in the Albuquerque Regional. And No. 10 seed USC competed in the Tallahassee Regional.

The Pac-12 has been very inconsistent in producing great golf teams but has a national-best 22 team match-play participants since an adjustment to a team match-play format in 2009. This year marks Oregon’s 14th straight regional selection, and the Ducks recently won the championship in 2016. On the other side, it is Utah’s first NCAA Regional appearance since 1992, and just the third appearance in program history.

14 teams played in the Cle Elum Regionals, but Sacramento State was forced to withdraw from the competition due to COVID-19 contact tracing. East Tennessee State finished first in the Regional, shooting a total of 838, 14 under par. San Francisco finished second, shooting four under par. Wake Forest finished third shooting two under par. Pepperdine finished fourth, shooting one under par. Florida was the final team to advance to the championships, shooting six over par.

East Tennessee State’s Archie Davies set a new Tumble Creek Course record on Tuesday by shooting eight under par for a total of 63. The previous record was set on Aug. 10, 2017 by Andrew Whalen who shot seven under par.

At the end of the second day, Utah and Pepperdine were tied for fifth place, the final position to make it into the championships. Things were looking up for Utah, as they seemed to be on the verge of making it into the next round.

But the third and final day ended up hurting the Utes badly. Pepperdine secured a fourth-place finish and a trip to the championship while Utah went the opposite way. The Utes shot 12 over par and fell down to seventh place. Utah finished the regional shooting 15 over par with a total of 867.

None of the Pac-12 teams in the Cle Elum Regional made it to the championships. Washington and Utah tied for seventh place, Arizona finished ninth, and Oregon placed tenth. USC also failed to make the championships, shooting 31 over par in the Tallahassee Regional.

In the Albuquerque Regional, Arizona State and Oregon State tied for second, both shooting 16 under par. They were the only Pac-12 teams to advance to the championships.

Utah comes home with a disappointing turnout, but there is still a glimmer of hope. This year was the first time since 1992 that Utah has appeared in the NCAA Golf Regionals. Perhaps this is a sign of improvement for the team as they will look to return to Regionals next year.


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