ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The Florida State men’s golf team came one stroke away from a playoff for match play, but was unable to capitalize on their great play and finished tied for 11th. Sophomore Daniel Berger finished tied for second in the individual standings at the NCAA Championships held at the Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club.
“They knew they were never going to be too safely in it and never going to be out of it and they showed that today,” said head coach Trey Jones. “The spirit that they have and how proud Florida State University should be in this golf team is just off the chart.”
The Seminoles started the day on the tough back nine and ended up only 1-over par. Once they made the turn, Florida State turned on their engines and started making birdies beginning with freshman Rowin Caron on the fifth hole. At that point, Berger made back-to-back birdies on five and six.
“That’s what you look for in golf,” said Berger. “That’s why I play golf, is that feeling of being there and having the opportunity to make it to match play and to win.”
Senior Doug Letson made back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth hole to put the Seminoles one stroke away from the playoff for the top eight teams. The Seminoles did not give up but went on to miss putts by mere inches and finished with three bogeys.
“There is no quit in these guys until the last shot and they executed well coming down the stretch,” continued Jones. “It just wasn’t meant to be. We had our chances and put ourselves in that situation and we’re all the better for it.”
Berger’s 2-under 68 Thursday put his 54 hole total to a 6-under 204 letting him finish in a six-way tie for second place, three strokes behind the medalist Max Homa of Cal. Berger made three birdies on the day and did not make a bogey until his last hole. This marks the best finish by a Seminole since Nolan Henke in 1997 when he finished for second place.
“I played really solid all day,” continued Berger. “I didn’t make a bogey until the last hole where I was trying to hit a shot in there to make it so we could get through. There are a lot of positives to take out of this week even though we didn’t make it.”
“That’s why he’s an All-American,” concluded Jones. “Truthfully he was struggling earlier in the week and just came out and gave us his all today. He’s a great player and he keeps getting better and better.”
Seniors Chase Seiffert and Letson finished their careers with an excellent tournament finishing only one stroke apart. Seiffert finished the day making all pars and two bogeys for a three round total of a 1-over 211. Letson played even par today making all pars on the back nine and then posting two birdies and two bogeys to finish with a 2-over 212.
Freshmen Hank Lebioda and Caron both finished the tournament with a 13-over 223. After posting 12-over on the first round, Caron played extremely well and had a 1-over 71 to finish the tournament on Thursday. Caron played well all day until a double bogey on 16 hindered his play. Lebioda posted a 4-over 74 in the final day but played a great front nine with only one bogey.