Stanford, Calif. – It was an old-fashioned SEC duel for the fifth and final NCAA Championship spot on Wednesday afternoon at the NCAA Stanford Regional, hosted at the Stanford Golf Course, between the LSU and Ole Miss men’s golf teams, and the Tigers from Baton Rouge came out on top and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the eighth time in the last 10 season.
“It’s survive and advance at this stage of the year,” head coach Chuck Winstead said. “This tournament is always a challenge, no matter where you play. My guys grinded it out this week. We’ve been in this position before. We’re happy to know that we have more golf ahead of us.”
Entering the day three shots behind Ole Miss on the leaderboard, LSU fired a 2-over par 282 to combat the Rebels’ 6-over 286 to erase the gap and advance to the NCAA Championship one stroke ahead of Ole Miss. LSU finished the three-day tournament with a 2-over par 842 (287-273-282), and Ole Miss checked in one shot behind the Tigers with a 3-over par 843 (282-275-286).
Freshman Michael Sanders fired the best NCAA round of his young career with a 1-under 69 to pace the Tigers. The native of Davidson, N.C., had a smooth presence about him on the final day of the regional. Sanders, who started on the back nine with the rest of his teammates, opened his round up with nine straight pars before he made the turn. After the turn, he birdied holes No. 1 and No. 3 to move to 2-under for the round. A bogey on the par 3 8th, brought him back to 1-under for the round before he closed out with a par on No. 9 for his 69. Sanders finished the tournament in a tie for 27th at 3-over 213.
Nathan Jeansonne and Luis Gagne, LSU’s senior leaders, checked in with even par 70s to keep the season alive. Gagne finished tied for 10th in the tournament with a final score of 3-under 207; it’s the 19th top-10 finish of his career, which is the fourth most in school history. Gagne’s round featured one eagle, two birdies, 11 pars and four bogeys for his even par round. It was Gagne’s second NCAA regional eagle of his career and the third of his senior season. Jeansonne got off to a bad start with a double on No. 10, but after that he played the rest of the round at 2-under for the final 17 holes. After the double bogey, he finished the final 17 holes with five birdies, 11 pars, a bogey, and another double bogey. Jeansonne, who had a rough first two days, finished tied for 67th, but when the Tigers needed him the most, he came through.
Trey Winstead shot a final round 3-over par 73 to check in with a three-day total of 9-over 219 to finish in a tie for 57th, and his 73 served as LSU’s final counting score of the day. Philip Barbaree finished the tournament in a tie for 17th place with a 1-over 211 (68-68-75).
The Tigers will now prep for the NCAA Championship that will take place in Fayetteville, Ark., at the Blessings GC on May 24-29.
The host, Stanford, won the regional with a 23-under 817. Arizona State (11-under 829), North Carolina (11-under 829), and Georgia Southern (6-under 834) were the other four schools to advance to Arkansas.