June 4, 2010
Ooltewah, TN - USD's dream season and goal of advancing to match play at the 2010 NCAA Championships came to a sudden finish early this morning when 2nd-ranked Stanford secured the final spot with a sudden death playoff win over the Toreros. The Cardinal completed two playoff holes at 3-under-par to advance as the eight seed for the match play portion of the championship. They advanced by outdueling USD and Arizona State over holes 10, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 18.
The three teams began on 11-18 with the top four of five scores counting as the team score. Stanford and San Diego played the holes at minus two, while Arizona State bowed out at one-under. The players at 18 moved on 10 while the other four just moved up in the rotation. Sihwan Kim gave Stanford the win with the lone birdie of the second playoff hole as he drained a 15-footer on the par five17th to claim the eighth spot and a date with top seed Oklahoma State in today's quarterfinal match play.
"Stanford's birdie putt sent us packing with a tough pill to swallow, but I'm very proud nonetheless," said head coach Tim Mickelson.
The Toreros, who entered the championship ranked 25th (Golfstat.com) and with a seeding of 18th, proved they belong among the nation's best. With a school record five tournament victories this season, and a strong showing at the NCAA Regional's, the Toreros headed to Tennessee on a mission to advance to match play. Although just missing out on this goal by a single stroke, they can hold their heads high and look back knowing they gave it everything they had. After last year's 13th place finish at the 2009 Nationals, they return home to San Diego with an impressive 8th place showing (30 teams) and the knowledge that the entire squad returns intact for the 2010-11 campaign.
Added Mickelson, "The playoff did not go the way we had hoped it would, but it was very exciting. While it was a tough loss, I'm so proud of my guys for what they accomplished this year. And the best part? The entire team roster returns next year and we also add two great players. Next year looks very promising. I wouldn't want to go into 'battle' on the golf course with anyone else except the team I have. I'm a proud coach and it feels great to be a Torero."
Alex Ching, the 36-hole leader at 135, finished tied for 2nd place in the individual race with an outstanding 8-under-par 208 (69-66-73). His second round 66 was a new course record that was later matched that day by Virginia's Henry Smart. His 6-under score, along with his 36-hole total of 135, broke the previous records set in 1996 by Tiger Woods (67 in 2nd round; 136 total). Ching led the entire field with 17 birdies. Gunner Wiebe also turned in his best score in round two (68) and finished the tournament tied for 25th overall at 1-under-par 215 (75-68-72). Wiebe tied for 6th overall with 14 birdies, with 8 of those coming in his final round 72. Rounding out USD scoring was Kenneth McCready (t103 at 225; 74-79-72), Jason Shano (t124 at 228; 76-73-79) and Scott Brace (t128 at 229; 79-75-75).