Hogs end dream season as NCAA Runner-up
TOLEDO, Ohio-Six rounds of golf and five days into to the NCAA Division I Championship, the National Title came down to the very last match and hole. The final brought together two teams that had never reached a higher finish than fourth in the history of their programs. Texas A&M birdied the par 4 while Arkansas shot an even par, making the No. 15 ranked Texas A&M the 112th National Championship team. Saturday’s final began at 10:00 AM (EST) at the Inverness Club with the No. 5 individuals from each team squaring off at each other.No. 5 Arkansas golfer Jamie Marshall shut Aggie Conrad Shindler out in their match up with a 3 & 2 final. The first two holes were all square. Marshall eagled hole 3, to be one up, also taking hole 7. Shindler birdied hole 9 to bring the count back down to one for Arkansas. Marshall took hole 10 and Shindler answered with hole 11. Arkansas claimed holes 13 and 15 to end ahead by three with two holes remaining.Arkansas also won the No. 4 match up between Razorback Jason Cuthbertson and Matt Van Zandt by a count of 3 & 1. The two matched each other on hole 1, with Van Zandt taking hole 2 and 4. Texas A&M remained up by two until Cuthbertson began to make his move on the 10th. He birdied hole 12 to square up the score, and took holes 16 & 17 to end the match three ahead with one hole left.The No. 3 competition was between Arkansas freshman Ethan Tracy and Texas A&M’s John Hurley. Hurley got a jump on Tracy early on taking the first three holes. Tracy in kind took the following two, then matching matched his opponent on holes 6 and 7. Hurley took a series of five consecutive holes, with Tracy marking the 13th as his own, before Hurley closed the match with the 14th to produce a 6 & 4 finish.Arkansas junior David Lingmerth went head to head with Andrea Pavan. Pavan claimed the first three holes, then the sixth. Lingmerth matched the Aggie on holes 7 & 8, before losing 9, 10, and 12 for a 7 & 6 count on the match.The most watched match of the day was between Arkansas senior Andrew Landry and Bronson Burgoon. It began with the two matching each other shot for shot in the first three holes. Landry bogied hole 4, but was able to even the score up on the 5th. Burgoon claimed holes 7, 9, 11, and 13, bringing the score up four in his favor before Landry rallied through holes 14, 15, 16, and 17 to an all square count. “I was struggling the last four holes,” Burgoon said. “I put more pressure on myself than I should have. The last hole something happened for me and seemed to click. I couldn’t have drawn it up any better. I love this team. That was the hardest thing when it was slipping away. I was more discouraged for the guys on the team than for myself.”On the 18th, Landry hit a perfect drive down the middle of the par-4 hole, but Burgoon pushed his tee shot into the right rough. Landry’s approach came to rest on the front fringe about 30 feet from the hole.After Burgoon slashed his second shot out of the rough, the ball landed on the green and trickled toward the hole, almost going in before stopping six inches from the cup. Landry had a chance to force a sudden-death playoff, but pulled his long birdie putt left.“It was 125 yards and I hit a gap wedge,” Burgoon said. “I hit it full. Our assistant coach (Jonathan Dismuke) told me to hit it at this rail, and it just kept feeding right down to the hole. Right when it cleared the hill, I knew it was going to go down pretty close to the hole.”The Aggie won the hole, and the match as a one up win, and the round as a 3-2-0.“I’m just really pumped up how it came down to the final hole. I just knew I had to dig down a little bit to come back,” Andrew Landry said of his performance. “I felt I could get this whole match back to square and I did. He just hit a great shot and there is nothing I can do about that.”“Andrew came up a little bit short and he was being a little cautious because he didn’t know what the lie was like over there. He pulled off the best shot of the tournament. Hats off to him. I’m sure proud of our guys and they did a great job all week. Hopefully Andrew can someday get his on the last hole.”.Coach McMakin noted the significance of senior Andrew Landry’s final performance as a Razorback. Landry began his collegiate career at Lamar with Coach Brad McMakin, and followed him to Arkansas as a sophomore.“I don’t think people understand what an emotional day it has been for me. Landry has been with me for four years, and he came to Arkansas to help build a program with me,” McMakin said. “He is like a son to me, and one of the people that was able to turn things around at Arkansas. He will be hard to replace, but he will have a career past this. It is going to be rough playing our first tournament of next season without him.”The Razorbacks ended their season with six straight second place finishes, including the SEC Championships, South Central Regional Championship, and the NCAA Championship.