(MSU Billings release)
DUPONT, Wash. – Garrett Woodin took third place at the NCAA West/South Central Regional Championships on Saturday at The Home Course, becoming the first men's golf player in Montana State University Billings history to qualify for the NCAA Division II Championships.
Woodin shot a career-three round best score of 3-under-par 213, capping the historic performance with a 3-under-par 69 on Saturday to clinch the individual spot in the national championship event. "I am very happy for Garrett," said MSUB head coach Jeff Allen. "He is playing so good and he deserves it. Even though he gets to advance to nationals, he shares the heartbreak that the rest of the team is feeling right now. It will be a great experience at nationals and I know he will go down there and give it his best."
Andrew Nl of Colorado State University-Pueblo made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final stroke of the event, which gave his team the fourth and final spot into the national tournament by a single stroke over the fifth-place Yellowjackets. MSUB put together a score of 291 on Saturday, and hovered around the cut line down to the final putt of the day.
In their first-ever regional championship, the Yellowjackets posted a three-round total of 883 (284-308-291) to take fifth place among the field of 16 top programs in the combined regional. "I just can't express how proud I am of these guys," said Allen. "They learned from that tough second round, put it in the past, and went out today and played a great round. One shot from the national championship – it doesn't get any closer than that."
Woodin's best performance of his career featured four birdies and just one bogey on Saturday, as he carved up the course and stormed towards the top of the leaderboard. The Yellowjacket senior finished just two strokes behind tournament champion Thomas Jenkins of Sonoma State University, who shot a 211 (70-72-69) to top the field of 86 players.
Kevin Kolb shot an even-par 72 on Saturday, and tied for 21st place at the event with a three-round total of 222 (71-79-72). Kolb's even-par final round featured four birdies, two each coming on the front-nine and back nine.
Junior Riley Kaercher tied for 43rd place at the regional, finishing in the upper half of the field with a three-round score of 226 (71-76-79). Kaercher had a pair of birdies in his final round of the event on Saturday.
Caleb Trost was close behind in a tie for 48th place, with a three-round score of 227 (74-77-76). Trost improved by one stroke over Friday's score, finishing with a 76 on Saturday including an even-par 36 on the front-nine.
One of the biggest performances of the tournament came from redshirt freshman Paul O'Neil, who shook off an 87 on Friday and contributed a 2-over-par 74 on Saturday to help keep MSUB in the hunt for a championship berth. O'Neil finished the event at 2-under par over his final 12 holes including a 1-under-par 35 on the back-nine. "We got a huge boost from Paul today," said Allen. "I'm so proud of how he responded and showed up in a big way for his team today."
No. 31 Texas A&M Commerce University won the tournament, with a three-round score of 874 (292-294-288) to edge second-place Saint Martin's University by five strokes. Sonoma State University took third place and joined TAMC, SMU, and CSU-Pueblo with a team berth into the national championships.
"This team has made history and they proved today that they belong," Allen said. "I can't wait to see where they go from here. I am so happy I got to coach this group, and it has been a heck of a ride these last few weeks."
THE BUZZ: Woodin was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…his previous three-round low score was 215, which he achieved twice…Woodin joins Kalli (Stanhope) Allen – Jeff Allen's wife – as the second golfer in school history to make it to the NCAA Championships…Kalli Allen achieved the feat as a freshman during the 2008 spring season.
NEXT UP: Woodin will represent the Yellowjackets at the national championships on May 17-21 at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
2021 NCAA D2 West/South Central Regional Championships
Final Results – May 8, 2021
The Home Course – DuPont, Washington
Team – 1. Texas A&M Commerce, 874 (292-294-288); 5. MSU Billings, 883 (284-308-291). Individual – 1. Thomas Jenkins, Sonoma State, 211 (70-72-69); 3. Garrett Woodin, MSUB, 213 (68-76-69); T21. Kevin Kolb, MSUB, 222 (71-79-72); T43. Riley Kaercher, MSUB, 226 (71-76-79); T48. Caleb Trost, MSUB, 227 (74-77-76); 83. Paul O'Neil, MSUB, 240 (79-87-74).