May 31, 2008
West Lafayette, IN - The Saint Mary's men's golf team wrapped up play at the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships with a final round score of 307 (+19) to post a national finish of 30th in the country. The Gaels final round was the best of the tournament. The third round was suspended due to severe weather on Friday evening and resumed at 8 am on Saturday morning. The Gaels had nine holes left to play when play was stopped.
Saint Mary's had completed the front nine of the par-72, 7,465-yard Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, with Mike McRae getting through 11 holes and Chadd Cocco making it through nine. Cocco completed his third round with a 3-over par 75 to finish the tournament at 225 (+9). He closed the day with a birdie on 16 and back-to-back pars on 17 and 18 to make a playoff with Virginia Tech's Jurrian van der Vaart and Illinois' Scott Langley for the final individual spot.
Cocco's playoff lasted four holes, but he would miss the cut after van der Vaart made a birdie on the fourth hole of the sudden death playoff. After all three players made par on 17 and 18, the playoff returned to the par-3 17th hole for the second time. Once again, all three players made three and returned to the 18th hole, which would be the final hole. Van der Vaart made a 15-foot birdie putt to win the hole outright.
After playing the front nine to 1-over par on Friday, Cocco was in the hunt to secure one of the six individual spots for the final round. He would make bogey on 11, 12 and 15 to fall one shot off the cut line. He was in position to make birdie on the par-4 15th, but his approach shot from 60 yards out flew the green and he could not get up and down from the long rough. Needing to shoot 1-under of the final three holes, Cocco dropped in a 25-foot birdie putt on 16 and then made pars on 17 and 18 to force the playoff.
Josh Kelley completed his final collegiate round with a 3-over par 75 as he closed the third round by shooting even par on his final eight holes on Saturday. He made birdie on the par-5 10th hole before the horns ended play on Friday, and combined with his even par over eight holes, he posted a 1-under par total of 35 on the back nine. He made birdies on 15 and 17, when he made a 30-footer from off the back of the green. He ended the day with a bogey on 18 and completed the tournament at 241 (+25).
When play stopped on Friday, Dan Cone was in the fairway on 11 and was a 5-over par for the round. He made par on the 11th hole but dropped a stroke on the long par-4 12th. He would then birdie three of the next four holes to get to 3-over for the round, but a triple bogey on the 205-yard par-3 17th dropped him to 6-over for the round. He would end the day with a 78 (+6) to complete his first NCAA Championship with a 54-hole total of 242 (+26).
Robert McRae carded the fourth countable round for the Gaels in the final round as he shot 79 (+7) in his first NCAA Championship appearance. McRae's final round included five bogeys and a double bogey. Over his eight-plus holes on Saturday, he would shot three over par with bogeys on 13, 17, and 18. He ended the tournament with a 54-hole total of 239 (+23) for the second best finish by a Gael.
Mike McRae struggled through his toughest tournament at Saint Mary's and carded a final round 82 to post a 54-hole score of 252 (+36). McRae's final round got off to a good start as he birdied the first hole, and when play was halted on Friday, he was at 2-over par through 11 holes. He would not regain his stroke from Friday, and carded four bogeys, two double bogeys and on par in his final seven holes on Saturday.
Pepperdine senior Eric Shriver's Waves career came to an end at the NCAA Championships on Saturday morning at the Brick Boilermaker Golf Complex, as Shriver carded a final round 82.
Shriver's (Cary, N.C./Arkansas/Green Hope HS) thirrd round was suspended on Friday evening after he finished the front nine, forcing Shriver and the rest of the field to complete the third round on Saturday morning. Shriver fired an 82, giving him a three-day total of 238 (+32) which put him in a tie for 125th. Shriverr did not advance to Saturday's final round.