Round two saw Griffin post another solid round, this time a three-under 69 that featured six birdies and three bogeys. He lost ground on the day, however, as Virginia’s Thomas Walsh fired a flawless seven-under 65 to take the lead. Griffin ended the day in third place, four shots back of Walsh who led at 12-under.
Jose Montaño also shot a four-under 68 to shoot up the leaderboard to 16th place, while Gerard posted another steady 71. As a team, UNC remained in sixth entering the final round, 10 shots behind Georgia Tech.
Despite being within striking distance all day, Griffin could never quite get things going in the final round. An uneventful front nine that featured eight pars and a birdie wasn’t enough to keep up with Walsh, who birdied three of his first four holes and was able to hang on for the win. Griffin finished the tournament in fifth place at 11-under.
“Ben is a phenomenal player,” head coach Andrew DiBitetto said of his team’s highest finisher. “He has high expectations of himself every week and every tournament. He was definitely motivated coming off of a playoff loss (last year), and he played extremely well again. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the winners for how they played.”
Montaño came in with an even-par 72 while William Register birdied seven holes on his way to a five-under 67, as the two finished at four-under and three-under for the tournament respectively.
The UNC team stayed put in sixth place to end the week with a total score of 19-under, one stroke behind rivals Duke and 10 strokes behind eventual winners Georgia Tech.
“There were certainly some positives throughout the week, each round we had one or two guys play well,” DiBitetto said on Sunday evening. “The ACC is very good, very deep, and very competitive, so when you combine that with a scorable golf course and ideal weather conditions, it came down to a wedge and putt contest.”
Who stood out?
For UNC, Griffin led the way for the entire week, finishing seven strokes ahead of his nearest teammate, Jose Montaño. Ryan Gerard performed well on the first two days before a final round 77 sunk his hopes of a high finish, while William Register overcame two mediocre opening rounds with an excellent final day to finish third on the team.
On the team side, Georgia Tech took home the trophy with a total combined score of 29-under, two strokes ahead of Clemson, which came in second place.
When was it decided?
For the individual standings, Walsh’s second-round 65 combined with his hot start in the final round all but ensured he would be lifting the trophy, despite a furious rally from Redman that featured a six-under 30 on the front nine Sunday.
In the team standings, Georgia Tech entered the final day with a six-shot cushion and did just enough to hold off charges from Clemson and Wake Forest to take first place, finishing two strokes above the Tigers and three ahead of the Demon Deacons.
Why does it matter?
Apart from being the conference’s most prestigious tournament, the ACC Championship provides a good preview for the NCAA competitions that are now firmly on the horizon. While DiBitetto knows his team didn’t play as well as they’re capable of this weekend, he’s also excited for what lies ahead in the postseason.
“This is what you play for, this is what college golf is all about,” he said. “It’s definitely the most fun time of the year.”
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels have a little over three weeks to focus on exams before teeing it up on May 14th at the NCAA Regional Championships.
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