One day after setting a school record for NCAA Regional excellence, the Virginia men's golf team almost saw its season end in disappointment. Virginia got 18th-hole birdies from junior Jimmy Stanger and freshman Thomas Walsh to eek by Washington for fifth place in the Franklin, Tennessee Regional. Virginia will join Texas, Vanderbilt, Houston, and LSU at the NCAA Finals. The Huskies, who finished sixth, will head home to a summer of wondering what could have been.
The Cavaliers entered Wednesday's final round tied for second place and holding a seven-shot cushion. UVA's margin for error quickly evaporated, however, as Vanderbilt, Houston, LSU, and Washington rocketed up the standings. The Commodores finished the final round -20 for the day, while the Cougars, Tigers, and Huskies went -16, -9, and -8, respectively. Virginia finished -2 on the day and -22 for the tournament.
The Cavaliers were +1 on the day and outside the cut line headed to the 17th tee. Stanger, senior Derek Bard, and sophomore Danny Walker birdied 17 to put Virginia briefly ahead. But a double bogey at 18 by freshman Ashton Poole knocked the Hoos outside the cut once more. A Walsh birdie and Walker par at 18 brought Virginia into a tie with Washington with only Stanger out on the course. And the junior from Tampa delivered.
WE'RE IN!!! Jimmy Stanger birdies No. 18 to break tie and send Hoos to NCAA Championships! UVA finishes 5th at NCAA Regional— Virginia Golf (@UVAMensGolf) May 18, 2016
Stanger led the Cavalier team throughout the week, finishing tied for 9th in the individual standings. Walker and Bard finished tied for 22nd and 25th, respectively. Virginia now heads to the NCAA Finals for the second straight season. The Cavaliers will tee off at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon on May 27th.