News 12 @ 11 Saturday May 17, 2008
HOUSTON, TEXAS—Senior Jeff Goff fired his second-straight even-par 70 on Saturday afternoon to finish at two-under-par for the 72 holes of the 46th NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship, forcing a playoff with Jude Eustaquio of Florida Southern. Goff won in a playoff to become the school’s second-ever NCAA Individual National Champion, joining Dane Burkhart who accomplished the feat in 2005.
In the past five years, USC Aiken has five NCAA National Championships, three team titles and two individual crowns.
Top-ranked West Florida (+9) carded a final round of six-over-par 286, just enough to hold off hard-charging St. Edward’s and North Alabama as both schools made up 12 strokes over the final 18 holes. The Argonauts won their second-ever NCAA Men’s Golf Championship in a playoff, becoming the 15th-straight national champion (and 23 of the last 24) to come from the Southeastern United States.
USC Aiken (+23), making the program’s 14th trip to the NCAA Championship in the 17 years the school has been affiliated with the NCAA, finished seventh with a final round of two-over-par 282.
Fellow Peach Belt Conference member Georgia College & State (+12) was fourth, three back of the trio at nine-over-par, while Nova Southeastern (+17) was fifth and Florida Southern (+22) placed sixth, one stroke ahead of the Pacers.
The 72-hole event was contested at the 7,158 yard, par 70 Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston, Texas. Built in 1923 by architect John Bredemus, the 600-acre course was completely renovated in 1995 and is considered one of the finest municipal courses in the nation.
Teeing off on 10, Goff opened his final collegiate round with nine consecutive pars as he made the turn with a 35. After a birdie on the par five first hole, the Jackson, S.C. native posted back-to-back bogeys to drop him into black numbers. Following a bogey four on hole four to right the ship, Goff birdied five and six to move to one-under-par on his round. A bogey on his next to last hole, the par four eighth, moved him to even-par where he finished.
The victory by Goff is his second career win in two seasons at USC Aiken while the 2006 South Carolina State Amateur Champion gave the Pacers their first individual victory of the season.
Roberto Diaz registered two birdies and three bogeys on his round for his third-straight one-over-par 71. The junior All-American finished in 10th place with a four-day total of two-over-par 282.
J.P. Solis showed why he is the 14th ranked player in Division II despite being a freshman as he produced a final round 71 and tied for 36th place in the tough 105-player field. Solis finished at eight-over-par 288 for the event.
Kevin Grady tied Goff for low round on Saturday with two birdies, two bogeys, and 14 pars as the sophomore tied for 77th at 16-over-par. Freshman Ashley Smith pared his first 11 holes en route to signing for his best round of the tournament, a 73, as he tied for 93rd at 22-over-par.
In addition to their three-straight NCAA titles in 2004, 2005, and 2006, USC Aiken has been close on a number of other occasions, finishing runner-up three times (1995, 1996, 1999) and fifth four more times (1992, 1993, 1994, 2002).