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June 21, 2012

Hokies advance to NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship, finish 24th overall

By: Jimmy Robertson

Scott Vincent leads the way for Tech

Jay Hardwick’s young Virginia Tech golf team didn’t finish as well as it wanted after making the program’s first NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship appearance in a decade. But it certainly gained valuable experience, setting high expectations for the 2012-13 campaign in the process.

The Hokies finished 24th overall at the event, which was held at prestigious Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Tech shot a three-round total of 38-over-par and failed to make it to match play, as the top eight teams following stroke play advance to match play for the right to play for the national title.

Scott Vincent, a freshman from Harare, Zimbabwe, paced the Hokies, shooting 6-over-par for the tournament and finishing in 45th place in the race for medalist honors. He shot 2-over in the first round, 4-over in the second round and even par in the final round. Blake Redmond, the lone senior on the squad, also shot even par in the final round for Tech, tying Vincent for the low round by a Hokie in the championship.

Illinois’ Thomas Pieters won medalist honors by shooting 5-under-par. Only six players out of 156 finished under par. Texas won the team title, beating Alabama in the match play final.

On the Tech side, another freshman, Trevor Cone, finished second on the team behind Vincent, shooting 11-over-par to come in 77th place. Redmond and Bryce Chalkley each shot 12-over-par and tied for 89th.

Tech suffered a blow when Mikey Moyers withdrew in the second round because of illness. Moyers, a junior from Stanardsville, Va., shot 6-over-par in the first round, but a stomach ailment forced him to come off the course after 11 holes in the second round. He wasn’t able to play in the final round, so Tech had to count all four scores from its four-player contingent in the final round.

“It was a great experience for these young men,” Hardwick told following the final round. “We hope we’re going to be in this position for the next two or three years.

“This golf course can really bring out your weaknesses, and that’s great for us because these young men know where they need to work. They know what their strengths are. I think their strength is in their resiliency. They battled back hard [in the final round]. To be 9-over early in the round and to come back and shoot 5-over, that’s a pretty good comeback, and we beat a lot of good teams [in the final round]. This golf course will point out your weaknesses, and our kids will make good notes on that, and that’s what they can work on this summer. Hopefully, we’ll come out in the fall and we’re going to be a lot stronger golf team.”

The Hokies advanced to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2002 by virtue of their fourth-place finish at the NCAA South Central Regional held at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky., on May 17-19. As a team, Tech finished the three-round event at 10-over-par to come in fourth. The top five out of each regional advance to the Division I Men’s Golf Championship.

Vincent paced the Hokies at the regional, shooting a three-day total of 5-under-par. He tied for third in the individual race, finishing eight shots back of medalist Stephan Jaeger of Chattanooga. The third-place finish marked Vincent’s best as a collegian.

Redmond finished tied for 23rd, while Chalkley was tied for 30th and Moyers was tied for 39th.

Chattanooga shot 4-under-par in the final round and won the regional by one stroke over Texas A&M. UCLA came in third, with Memphis finishing fifth.