The #16 men's golf team was in New Haven this weekend for one of six NCAA regionals, up against a stiff field including #5 Vanderbilt, #7 LSU, #20 Oklahoma State and #29 Arkansas. The top five finishers qualified for the championship in Bradenton, so it seemed reasonable that USF, as the third-seeded team, had a decent shot to make the cut.
They did a heck of a lot more than make the cut. In one of the most dominant performances from a USF team on a big-time stage ever, the Bulls went wire-to-wire and finished a remarkable fourteen strokes ahead of the second-place team. Here's the carnage in all its detail:
|2||#32 San Diego State||E|
|3||#20 Oklahoma State||+2|
|6||#45 NC State||+10|
|12||College of Charleston||+33|
That is illegal in some countries. Anyway, the Bulls will be headed back home to Bradenton to host the 30-team NCAA final, which will begin on May 29. The top eight teams from the bunch will advance to match play from June 1-3. There are much, much worse places to be than hosting the national championship after the playing the best freakin' round of golf you've ever played.
I can't emphasize this enough: USF has a very, very real shot at a national title. Like, better than I can remember any USF team having in the past twenty years. The Bulls have never, ever won a Division I national title (though they've come close-- women's golf finished fourth in 1987, and we all remember softball's run to the Women's College World Series in 2012), so this is huge. If you're anywhere near the area that weekend, you should come out and support-- imagine being present for USF's first ever national title!
I'll cool my jets a little: the Bulls are facing a massive field with a bunch of ridiculously talented teams, and they'll need to make it through a handful of rounds just to reach the final. It's not exactly likely, but it's possible, and even more so if the Bulls can play like they did in New Haven.
The 30-team field is below, in case you'd like to see how the Bulls match up against their competition. Get ready, and get your butts out to Bradenton. This is a an opportunity that doesn't come around very often.
(These are Sagarin rankings from Golfweek, but keep in mind that golf is rarely a sport that plays out according to chalk, for better or for worse. At any rate, it's a perfectly realistic goal for the Bulls to make it to match play.)
#2 Florida State
#6 Arizona State
#9 South Carolina
#10 Georgia Tech
#11 Texas Tech
#18 North Carolina
#21 Oklahoma State
#34 San Diego State