In the end, however, the final 18 holes proved to be a disappointment. No North Carolina player was able to break par and the team finished the day with a cumulative 10-over-par score to fall back into sixth place.
Register led the Tar Heels once again in the final round, hanging tough over the course of an up-and-down day. He started off with a birdie on the first hole, before quickly giving a shot back on the third. After three straight pars on holes four through six, he embarked on a wild stretch to finish his tournament in which he made just four pars over the course of the final 12 holes.
An eagle on the short par-four seventh hole brought him back to two-under on the day, but bogeys on holes nine and eleven brought him right back to square one. He birdied the 12th, but then made a costly double-bogey on the 14th that put his tournament hopes in jeopardy.
Register rallied, however, with back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16 to revive his chances. After a par on the penultimate hole, he came to the 18th needing just a par to seal first place. Unfortunately for him, he could only manage a bogey, sending the tournament to a three-way playoff for first place between Register, Lipscomb University’s Eric Ansett, and Liberty’s Ervin Chang. It only took one hole for the playoff to be decided, with Chang making a par to secure first-place honors.
Who stood out?
Individually, Register was UNC’s best player by five shots, coming oh-so-close to an individual title.
“William was great yesterday and today,” head coach Andrew DiBitetto said after the tournament concluded. “We’re excited for him and proud of him. We know William is disappointed about the playoff, but he was tough down the stretch and executed some clutch shots, especially and 15, 16, and 17.”
Ryan Gerard was the only other Tar Heel to finish under par for the tournament, coming in at one-under.
“We’re proud of Ryan as well,” DiBitetto said. “He had an opportunity this week and he took advantage of it. We have a deep team, which will make things very competitive at home for our guys as they try to earn their way into the starting lineup.”
In the team competition, South Florida took first place honors with a cumulative score of six-under-par. Arkansas and Liberty rounded out the top three with cumulative scores of five under and one under respectively.
When was it decided?
It came down to the wire for the individual honors, as 54 holes weren’t enough to decide a winner. After an intense one-hole playoff, the trophy could finally be awarded to Ervin Chang, as Register suffered a close loss.
The team competition was also very tight, as South Florida edged the win by just one stroke over Arkansas after the Razorbacks could only muster a cumulative six-over-par score in the final round.
Why does it matter?
Every team came into the week hoping to start off the spring season on the right foot. UNC did start well, but was unable to finish the tournament on a positive note, and the players will be hoping to set things right next time they tee it up.
For Register, the week was a very successful one, with one stroke the only thing keeping it from being perfect. He’ll be looking to build on his momentum the next couple of weeks.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels will head to Hawai’i in a little under ten days to compete in the John Burns Invitational from Feb. 15 to 17.
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