The Orion

‘Cats advance to NCAA Championships

Greg Silvia

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Senior golfer Ricky Owaki. Courtesy of Chico State Wildcats

The Chico State men’s golf team entered the final round of the NCAA Championship Super Regional at the Grey Rock Golf Club in Austin, Texas in sixth place.

The Wildcats went into the tournament ranked fourth in the nation after a very strong regular season.

After missing out by two strokes last year to make it to the NCAA Championship, a top-six spot at the regionals was the main goal, said senior golfer Ricky Owaki.

“After a really good year, we expected to make it and potentially win regionals,” Owaki said.

A last round 9-over-par 297 jumped the team into a tie for second place, securing their spot at the NCAA Championship.

Strong final round performances from Alistair Docherty, Lee Gearhart and Justin Wiles despite tough conditions were key to making the jump up the board. Docherty shot a 1-over-par, while Gearhart and Wiles both shot 2-over-par.

“The course was tough and it was really windy,” Gearhart said. “But we definitely had the most fun out of any team there.”

The Wildcats will now head to Allendale, Michigan to compete in the NCAA Division II Championships May 19-23. They will compete in a field of 20 teams.

“We hope to make it to the match play portion of the tournament, top eight, giving us the chance to be crowned national champions,” Gearhart said.

The ’Cats are extremely confident heading into next week’s tournament.

“Our goal is to win it,” Owaki said. “We know we are capable of winning the championship. All five of us haven’t put together a solid round yet and if we can do that, we are better than any team in the nation.”

Greg Silvia can be reached at [email protected] or @gsilvia on Twitter.

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‘Cats advance to NCAA Championships