HUTCHINSON, Kan. — For the seventh consecutive year the Texas A&M men’s golf team saw its season come to a close at the NCAA Championship as Monday the Aggies completed the event’s final round of stroke play in 29th place.
Texas A&M (296-288-297=881, +41) was one of 22 teams eliminated following the conclusion of stroke play as just eight schools (Stanford, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, UCLA, SMU and Illinois) advanced to the match play portion of the tournament.
“It obviously didn’t turn out the way we thought it would in our heads,” Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “We came in with high hopes and big dreams but it just wasn’t meant to be this year. That’s tough to swallow because this is what we’ve worked so hard for. We’re about winning championships and we didn’t get it done at either of the two big ones this year, SECs and Nationals. From that standpoint we are disappointed, but I do have to say that I’m not disappointed in our season or our guys.”
Texas A&M stands out as one of just five schools nationally that have advanced to the final site in each of the last seven years (UCLA, USC, Texas, Illinois).
“Seven straight appearances in the national championship is not an easy thing to do,” Higgins added. “It’s a streak that we’re really proud of and we look forward to keeping it going next year.”
The tournament faced major logistical and scheduling issues as each of the event’s first three days featured lengthy delays due to weather conditions.
“I’ve never really been a party of a tournament like this one,” Higgins said. “I think that the NCAA committee did a fabulous job of dealing with all the adversity and actually getting all three rounds in. The delays were really long and I can’t even imagine the headache that they caused on the logistics of this tournament. It really was a bizarre event from that standpoint, but this week has really been out of the ordinary. I’ve been a part of a lot of NCAA Championships and this is the first time I’ve had to deal with something like this.”
Sophomore Andrew Lister (72-71-71=214, +4) was the highest-finishing Aggie on the leaderboard, ending play in a tie for 55th after carding his second consecutive round of one-over par. Three shots behind Lister in 82nd place was fellow second-year golfer Ben Crancer (73-71-73=217, +7).
Despite falling short of reaching collegiate golf’s ultimate prize this season, like the Aggies did when they won the 2009 National Championship, Higgins commented on the pride he has for his golfers.
“We try to take things one step at a time,” the 13-year Texas A&M coach said. “The goal of regionals is to advance to nationals, at nationals it’s to get into match play and then it’s to win a national championship. We obviously fell short of our ultimate goal, however, I am very proud of these guys and the job they did.”