Chants miss cut at NCAAs; settle for 22nd-place finish

The 46th-ranked Coastal Carolina men’s golf team shot a 283 in the final round of stroke play and posted a 54-hole score of 11-over par 851 to finish 22nd at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, played at the par 70, 7,319-yard Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course.

Sophomore Ben Wheeler led the Chanticleers with a final round 68, moved up from 42nd after two round and tied for 26th with a three-round score of 1-under par 209.

The Chanticleers end 2013 by winning its 13th Big South title in the last 17 years, finished fifth at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional – the schools’ 11th team appearance at a Regional since 2000 and made its fourth appearance at the NCAA final – first since 2007.

Top-ranked California led the 30-team field with a 16-under 824 and will join #7 Georgia Tech (830), #2 Alabama (833), #4 Texas (833), #26 Illinois (835), #6 New Mexico (842), #28 UNLV (842) and #38 Arizona State (842) in the eight-team match play portion to determine the 2013 national champion.

Wheeler posted Coastal’s fifth-best finish over 54 holes at the NCAA Championship with his tie for 26th (70-71-68=209). Dustin Johnson was tied for fifth after 54 holes in 2006 and tied for ninth in 2007. Lindsay Renolds was tied for 15th in 2007 while Zach Byrd was tied for 21st in 2006.

Wheeler was 1-over at the turn, posting six pars, two bogeys and a birdie. After a par on the par 4 10th hole, Wheeler reeled off five straight birdies to get to 4-under. However, he would dropped two shots on holes 16 and 18 to settle for his 2-under 68. The 209 marks Wheeler’s best 54-hole score on a par 70 course. The 16th hole was tough for all golfers. Normally a par 5, the 520-yard hole was a par 4 for the NCAA Championship.

Roberto Ballesteros, who carded the team’s best 18-hole score of 66 in round two, turned in a final-round 3-over 73 Thursday. After bogeys on two of his first three holes, the junior had birdies on holes five and six to get back to even, but he would suffer a bogey on the par 4 9th hole to make the turn at 1-over. He finished the championship with seven pars and bogeys on holes 15 and 16 for his 73. Ballesteros tied for 69th with his 4-over 214 (75-66-73).

Andrew Dorn was the only Chant to improve over each of his three rounds. The sophomore tied for 85th with a 5-over 215 (74-71-70). While his round of 71 featured five birdies on Wednesday, Dorn’s even par round of 70 was much more consistent on Thursday. He had a bogey on his second hole but bounced back with birdies on holes 4 and 9 to make the turn at 1-under. Dorn dropped back to 1-over after bogeys on holes 11 and 16, but rallied to birdie the par 4 17th and finish with a par for his 70.

Sebastian Soderberg finished his illustrious Chanticleer career by tying for 93rd with a 6-over 216. After shooting 67 with three birdies and 16 pars in round two, Soderberg had 15 pars in his final round, but three bogeys and a double led to his 75. After a bogey on the par 5 8th, he nearly ran the table with pars but suffered a double on the par 4 16th.

Soderberg was a four-time All-Big South honoree, the only Chant to be a three-time All-Region pick, a three-time Academic All-Big South honoree and played in an NCAA Regional all four years of his collegiate career – once as an individual and once advancing to the NCAA Championship as an individual.

Peter Valasek tied for 109th with an 8-over 218 (75-71-72). The sophomore was even at the turn and 1-under after a birdie on the par 4 11th hole. However, bogeys on holes 15, 16 and 18 pulled Valasek to 2-over for his round and 8-over for the championship.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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