published Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Chris Robb in, Mocs out of NCAA title tourney

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's "Power C" logo will be heading to the NCAA Division I men's golf national championship tournament.

But there won't be a lot of blue and gold.

UTC senior Chris Robb advanced as an individual via playoff to the title tournament beginning Friday at Prairie Dunes Golf Club in Hutchinson, Kan. The UTC team tied for sixth in the NCAA West Regional on Saturday and was six shots away from advancing as a group.

"I'm pretty happy, but I would love to go as a team instead," Robb said by phone. "I played well this week. I'm happy."

Robb tied for third in the medalist race with a 2-over-par 212 through 54 holes at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. He shot 3 over on Saturday with bogeys on two of his last four holes and tied with Liberty golfer Nicklas Lindstrom. They were the two top-performing players not on teams advancing, so they played a sudden-death tournament to determine who would advance to Kansas.

"It was pretty cool to watch it all unfold," UTC senior Davis Bunn said. "Luckily he did what he needed to do."

All he needed was a par. After hitting his drive into a fairway bunker, Robb couldn't reach the green in two. He chipped to about 12 feet from the cup. Lindstrom flew the green and chipped on.

Robb made his putt. Lindstrom did not.

"It was quite an interesting playoff," UTC coach Mark Guhne said. "He made a really good putt."

Stanford star Patrick Rodgers was the medalist at 6 under par, six shots better than runner-up Thomas Lim of Oregon. A double-bogey by University of Pacific golfer Byron Meth on his last hole left Robb and Lindstrom in position to play off.

The Mocs needed several last-hole double-bogeys from other teams after they finished. It didn't happen.

UTC tied for sixth with North Florida at 45-over 885. South Carolina grabbed the fifth and final invitation at 880. Third-ranked Stanford won at 853, followed by Oregon at 854, Oklahoma at 860 and Houston at 875. East Tennessee State tied Liberty for eighth at 889, and Tennessee placed 11th at 894.

"We were an 11 seed coming in and nobody expected a lot out of us," Guhne said. "We did play well, we came together and got something done.

"I think fighting down until the very end is a good way to send off the seniors."

UTC shot 18 over on Saturday, including 8 over on its final four holes on the cards that counted.

Junior Liam Johnston and freshman Ewan Scott tied for 32nd at 222, Bunn tied for 61st at 232 and freshman Wes Gosselin tied for 67th at 238.

"We played well overall. I didn't play my best, but I think we exceeded everybody else's expectations," said Bunn, who played in his last college tournament. "We fought. And at least Chris gets to go."

Robb made 10 birdies during the tournament and recorded his fifth top-10 finish this season. He's the first UTC golfer to reach the NCAA finals as an individual since Neil Connolly in 1993.

"You go to a national championship wanting to go and win as a team," Guhne said. "It's a little bittersweet going with Chris. I want to be taking all of them, not just one of them."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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