No. 2 Texas A&M ascended five spots on the leaderboard at the NCAA DI Men’s Golf Championship on Sunday, finishing the day in seventh place following the third round of competition at Karsten Creek Golf Club.
“We live to play another day and are looking to extend it into match play on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “We’re excited about that and proud of the way the guys battled today. Everything we’ve worked for is right there for the taking and we’re really close with our games right now. We were close to putting together an unbelievable round again today, but had a few too many big numbers that came from being careless and letting shots get away.”
The Aggies (293-289-289=871, +7) are among 15 teams still in contention as the initial 30-team field was trimmed to 15 schools following the completion of Sunday’s round. The remaining teams will compete in a final stanza of stroke play on Monday with the squads jockeying to be one of eight schools that advance to the match play portion of the event. After two rounds of match play on Tuesday, two schools will be left to battle head-to-head Wednesday for the 2018 NCAA DI Men’s Golf National Championship.
Duke (-10) sits atop the team leaderboard while Oklahoma State (-7), Texas Tech (-3), Vanderbilt (+2), Oklahoma (+4), Auburn (+6), A&M (+7) and Kent State (+8) round out the top eight in the standings. The field remains tightly packed as just eight strokes separate the 15th team, Arizona State (+16), and eighth place in the standings.
“The mistakes we’ve made this week have been kind of uncharacteristic of the way we’ve played this year, but I also know we’ve got the firepower to go low and put a good score on the board,” Higgins added. “I like our position, we’re in the top eight right now and looking to move up tomorrow.”
Sophomore Brandon Smith (74-70-70=214, -2) continues to lead the way for the Aggies as he carded his second straight round under par to move up the leaderboard 14 spots into a tie for 14th at two-under par.
“Brandon has just been awesome,” said Higgins of the Frisco, Texas, native. “He really does such a great job of keeping the ball in play. He’s hit some great shots from the fairway this week, especially with his wedges. He’s really been dialed in.
Senior Andrew Paysse (71-74-71=216, E) was also in the red on Sunday, turning in a one-under round of 71 to climb 10 spots into a tie for 27th.
Freshman Walker Lee (74-72-73=219, +3) was one over during the third round to hold 39th place while sophomore Dan Erickson (74-73-75=222, +6) shares 57th place. Junior Chandler Phillips (75-77-75=227, +11), meanwhile, rounded out the A&M individuals in 96th place.
The Aggies will return to the course Monday morning at 1:10 p.m. when they will be paired alongside Alabama and Kent State. Live scoring and results can be found on golfstat.com and as well as live updates via twitter at @AggieMensGolf.
The Golf Channel will have live coverage of the NCAA Championship on Monday from 3-7 p.m.