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Wednesday's NCAA men's golf roundup
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/17/2017
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Wofford's Andrew Novak
Courtesy: Wofford Athletics
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Wofford's Novak ties for 24th at NCAA College Grove Regional

COLLEGE GROVE, Tenn. – Wofford golfer Andrew Novak tied for 24th place in the field of 75 at the College Grove NCAA Regional, ending his impressive Wofford career. The three-day, 54-hole tournament, held at The Grove, concluded Wednesday.

Novak, top-seeded individual of the 10 in the field, shot 76 in Monday's round and shot 67 on Tuesday, the second-best round on the day and his best NCAA regional score. In Wednesday's final round the Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, native, ranked 89th nationally, shot 78 to finish with a total score of 221 (+5).

UCF won the regional with a three-day score of 863, 1-under-par. Vanderbilt, Kennesaw State and Clemson tied for second and nearby Lipscomb finished fifth. Those five teams will advance on to nationals held May 26-31 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Troy's Cam Norman will also advance, as he finished the highest (T6) among players whose teams didn't advance.

For the second consecutive day, Novak began his round on the back nine. The senior made par on the par-4 10th hole to start. He bogeyed the par-5 11th but picked up a birdie on No. 12 to get back to even par. He made par on No. 13 and No. 14 to remain at even par but then bogeyed No. 15. Again, he made par on the next two holes. Novak made birdie on No. 18 to get back to even par at the turn.

The wind picked up considerably as he made his way to the front nine. Novak made par on No. 1 and then found his third birdie of the day and second of the tournament on No. 2. He made par on the par-3 No. 3 and then birdied No. 4 for his third birdie in five holes. On No. 5, Novak made par on the par-3 for the third consecutive round to move into a tie with Norman, who was in the clubhouse with the lead.

Novak's last four holes proved to be the toughest as he played Nos. 6-9 at 8-over-par. His tee shot went in the water on No. 6 and he made bogey after taking a drop. Novak's second shot on the par-5 No. 7 went into the bunker and his shot out of the bunker went over the green into a hazard. His shot out of the hazard landed on the green and a two-putt for bogey pushed him back to even par. Novak double-bogeyed No. 8, his only double-bogey of the tournament, and moved to +2 on the day. He made a quadruple bogey on No. 9 to finish the day with a 6-over 78.

Novak's Wofford career ends as one of the best in Wofford history. The 2017 SoCon Golfer of the Year, the program's first ever, holds the program record for career wins (four), tournament score in relation to par (-13) and the second lowest round in school history (65). His is the only Wofford golfer to qualify for regionals twice, as he finished T17 with rounds of 73, 73 and 72 in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, regional last season.

 

ETSU finishes 12th at NCAA College Grove Regional

COLLEGE GROVE, Tenn. – Senior Mateusz Gradecki and freshman Trevor Hulbert led the ETSU men's golf team at the NCAA College Grove Regional, which concluded on Wednesday afternoon at The Grove Club.

Gradecki and Hulbert finished tied for 30th at 6-over-par 222, while the Bucs – playing in their fourth straight NCAA Regional and 26th in program history – finished 12th at 39-over-par 903 (295-303-305).

Hulbert – who was playing in his first NCAA Regional – led the Blue and Gold on Wednesday as he carded an even-par 72 en route to moving up 14 spots on the leaderboard. The Orlando, Fla. native led the Blue and Gold with 13 birdies this week with four of them coming in the final round. Hulbert played the first nine holes at 1-under on Wednesday and his score remained there after carding five straight pars following the turn. However, Hulbert went bogey, birdie, par, bogey in his final four holes to finish with the 72.

Gradecki got off to a strong start in the final round as he birdied his first two holes, but then gave one back after posting a bogey on the par-4, 467-yard No. 12. Following three consecutive pars, Gradecki walked away with a double-bogey on the par-4, 394-yard No. 16 before ending with a birdie on the No. 18 to get back to even. From there, the Buccaneer senior carded four straight pars and got back to 1-under after making a birdie on the par-3, 227-yard No. 5. Gradecki then played the final three holes at four-over to post a 75 in the final round.

The course conditions were the toughest the players saw in the three days, and the scores showed. No team shot under par on the day and only the champion, UCF, finished the tournament under par with a 1-under 863 (285-287-291).

The 47th-ranked Knights – who entered the day tied for second at 4-under and eight shots back of No. 1 Vanderbilt – rallied for a 3-over 291 on Wednesday, while the Commodores registered a 13-over 301 to finish in a three-way tie for second with No. 12 Clemson and No. 34 Kennesaw State at 1-over-par 865 for the tournament. Lipscomb finished in the coveted fifth spot with a 5-over-par 869 to advance to the NCAA National Championship.

It was the final hole of the day that aided UCF the most. The Knights finished 5-under on the par-5 18th on the day after three birdies and an eagle.

Lipscomb's Dawson Armstrong won medalist honors as he finished with a 54-hole score of 8-under-par 208 (69-65-74), while Kennesaw State's Chris Guglielmo placed second at 6-under-par 210 (72-70-68). UCF's Manuel Elvira and Vanderbilt's Patrick Martin finished tied for third at 5-under-par 211.

Troy's Cam Norman was the top individual from a non-advancing team, which moved him into the NCAA Championship. Norman finished tied for sixth at 3-under-par 213 (67-73-73).

Sophomore Geuntae Kim finished tied for 67th, while Kevin Burns tied for 71st and Cayman Ratliff ended in 73rd.

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