SUGAR GROVE, Ill. (Purdue Sports) – The No. 45-ranked Purdue men’s golf team fired a 9-over par 297 and surged past three teams at the NCAA Golf Central Regional to advance to its first NCAA Championship round since 2005 by finishing third out of 14 teams.
The Boilermakers entered the day in sixth place three shots back, but quickly made up ground on the front nine, then held on during the back nine to reach their first NCAA Championship since 2005. It marks the 28th time in school history that Purdue has reached NCAA golf’s ultimate weekend, but just the fifth time since 1981.
Purdue’s 28 appearances are the third most in Big Ten history and its 17 top-10 finishes are the second most in the Big Ten.
Purdue finished with a 30-over par 894 (309-288-297) to place third behind No. 9-ranked Illinois (293-292-295=880; +16) and No. 21-ranked UAB (292-292-298=882; +18). No. 16 USC and No. 4 California tied for fourth at 896 (+32). No. 33 Clemson, which entered the final round in third place just seven shots out of the lead, finished sixth at 34-over par (898) after a final round 307 (+19).
Purdue advanced to the finals with steady playing on the front nine, posting a 3-under par score through nine holes to surpass Clemson, USC and California and move into third place.
The five members then played the back nine in a combined 12-over par, but when the chips were on the line during the final two holes and Purdue holding onto a strenuous lead over USC, California, Clemson and a surging Kent State squad, the Boilermakers proved their mettle.
With a stiff wind starting to pick up, the Boilermakers played the final two holes in even-par, getting up-and-down several times to remain in the hunt. Meanwhile, contenders USC (+1) and Clemson (+4) both played over par, while California, which Purdue had a five-shot lead on entering the final two holes, played 17 & 18 in 3-under par.
Leading the Boilermakers in the final round was freshman Austin Eoff with a 1-under par 71 to finish his tournament with a 6-over par 222 (77-74-71) and a tie for 11th. He would finish third among freshmen in the field. Eoff would get to as low as 3-under during his round after a birdie on the par-4 14th hole, but suffered back-to-back bogeys to fall back to 1-under par. He would regroup and par the final two holes for a 1-under par 71, his 16th round of par or better this year (36 rounds).
Senior Adam Schenk was Purdue’s top finisher for the tournament with a 5-over par 221 (75-70-76), good for 10th place, his second straight top-10 finish in NCAA Regional play (ninth last year). Schenk fired a 4-over par 76 today with four bogeys, but was clutch late in the round, parring the final four holes, including three instances of getting up-and-down from off the green.
Sophomore Stuart Macdonald finished 20th after shooting a final-round 76 for a three-day total of 9-over par 225 (79-70-76). Macdonald also recorded four bogeys on the day with no birdies, but like Schenk, played the final three holes in even-par to aid in Purdue’s scoring.
Junior Enzo Perez had a wild Saturday, registering four birdies, six bogeys and eight pars for a final-round 74 (+2). Perez was 2-under par at the turn, but bogeyed hole Nos. 10, 11, 12 and 16 to fall to 2-over par. He would par the final two holes to finish his tournament in a tie for 23rd at 10-over par 226 (78-74-74).
Freshman Philippe Schweizer finished in 45th place, but had his best round of the regional in Saturday’s third and final round. Schweizer fired a 4-over par 76 and played the very difficult par-3’s at Rich Harvest Farms in 1-under par today. Schweizer totaled an 18-over par 234 (79-79-76).
Purdue will now be one of 30 teams competing for the NCAA National Championship next week, beginning Friday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, outside of Wichita. The teams will play 54 holes (18 holes on Friday through Sunday; May 23-25), then Monday’s round will consist of the top 40 individuals vying for NCAA Medalist honors. The top eight scoring teams from the three team rounds will then advance to match play competition, beginning Tuesday, May 27.
Twenty-two of the nation’s top-24 ranked teams advanced to the finals, in addition to teams ranked No. 31, 32, 37, 40, 43, 45, 46 and 50. The lone top 25 teams that did not reach the finals are UCF (No. 7), Virginia (No. 11) and New Mexico (No. 25).