Sophomore Austin Hitt also came in under-par in the first round for UNC, posting a one-under 71. The team ended the day tied for third place on the overall leaderboard, but 14 strokes back of frontrunner UNLV.
Day Two saw Ryan Gerard storm up the leaderboard with a stellar four-under par 68 that featured an eagle on the par-five ninth hole. It was the second best round of the first-year’s short career, and just one stroke shy of his best.
Senior William Register also broke par with a one-under 71, while Griffin fell back a stroke with a one-over 73. The team finished the day tied for fourth place, twelve strokes back of first.
The final round proved to be the turning point for the week, as UNC held tough while other teams around them struggled. Register posted his best round of the week with a three-under 69 while Gerard came in with a steady even-par 72.
Griffin struggled once again, battling to a wild four-over par 76 that featured just one par on the entire back nine. After getting off to a bad start with three bogeys in his first six holes, he birdied the ninth and 10th holes and appeared to right the ship.
However, a triple-bogey seven on the par four 11th hole threw his round off the rails, and his next six holes went: bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, birdie and bogey. He finished the tournament tied for 37th as an individual at two-over par.
In the end, UNC posted a collective score of three-under par on the final day to finish at 12-under for the tournament.
While the Tar Heels, for the most part, held steady, teams above them were struggling. Arizona started the day with a one stroke advantage over North Carolina, but could only muster a combined score of four-over for the round, dropping them into a tie for fourth to end the week.
In an even bigger surprise, UNLV, who held a commanding six-stroke lead heading into the final round, collapsed on the final day with a collective score of nine-over par. That dropped them all the way down into a tie for second with none other than UNC.
Who stood out?
On the individual side, Gerard led the way for his team with a combined score of four-under for the week, while Register followed two shots behind at two-under.
Overall, Texas A&M’s Chandler Phillips took first place with a score of 13-under. In the team standings, Texas A&M came out on top with an incredible final score of 29-under for the week, helped in no small part by a furious rally in the final round to finish at 14-under on the day. UNC and UNLV tied for second at 12-under.
When was it decided?
The Tar Heels played consistent, quality golf throughout the entire week, but not even the boldest of predictions could have foreseen the events of the final round. A Texas A&M charge coupled with a UNLV implosion over the course of the last 18 holes helped shape the final standings of the leaderboard.
For the individuals, UNLV’s Shintaro Ban entered the final round with a one-stroke lead, but limped to a seven-over par 79 to drop to seventh, while Texas A&M's Phillips fired a 67 to claim first place.
Why does it matter?
After a poor final round at its last tournament, UNC rebounded with a fine performance against a tough field. They also managed to do something they’ve failed to do far too often this season: put together three consistent rounds.
They’ll undoubtedly be pleased with their week, and will be looking to carry that momentum into the business end of the spring season.
When do they play next?
The team will have three weeks off before teeing it up at the Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic, starting on March 12.
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