(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Making history as the first men’s golf player from Montana State University Billings to qualify for the NCAA D2 Championships, senior Garrett Woodin finished the event on Wednesday at the PGA National Resort Golf Course in a tie for 23rd place.
Woodin finished in the top-third among the field of 84 of the best players in the country. He finished with a three-round score of 233 (79-76-78) and was the top finisher from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the event.
The Billings native moved up the leaderboard seven slots on Wednesday, finishing the tournament by shooting a 6-over-par 78 on the par-72, 7,051-yard course layout.
“Today was a very difficult test of golf,” said MSUB head coach Jeff Allen, who coached for the final time on Wednesday. “The greens were the toughest they have been all week and the wind was much stronger than it has been all week. This course is no joke and the way it was set up this week was very difficult but also very fun.”
Woodin overcame a tough start on Wednesday, as he battled through another windy day on the course with a 6-over-par 42 on the front-nine. He made five pars on the front, but a pair of double bogeys and a pair of bogeys upped his score over the first half of the final round.
Finishing his collegiate career with a bang, Woodin pulled together an even-par 36 on the back-nine to keep himself in the upper-third of the leaderboard. Woodin made five pars in-a-row after the turn, before sinking his lone birdie of the day on the par-3, 176-yard 15th hole. His lone bogey on the back-nine came on the par-5, 556-yard 18th hole, as he finished strong to ensure three straight sub-80 rounds. Woodin was one of just eight players among the field of 84 who managed to shoot an even-par or better back-nine on Wednesday.
“Garrett showed some real mental strength with how he battled on the back-nine,” Allen said. “To shoot even par on this back-nine in these conditions is impressive. I just couldn’t be more proud of him and how he played this week and this year. He made history and left a great legacy. The program is in a great place with the players coming back and I’m excited to watch their success in the future.”
Keegan Bronnenberg of Indianapolis won the individual national title with a three-round score of 4-over-par 220 (76-69-75), as he held of four players who tied for second place by a pair of strokes. The top-eight teams among the field of 16 advanced to the match-play team championship portion of the event, which begins on Thursday.
ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Woodin qualified for the NCAA Championships by finishing in third place at last week’s NCAA West/South Central Regional Championships as he was the top individual not on one of the four teams that advanced to the national tournament. In addition to being the first men’s golf representative at the championships, Woodin is the second overall MSUB golfer as he joins Kalli (Stanhope) Allen who made the NCAA Championships during her freshman year in the spring of 2008.