SAMMAMISH, Wash. — The Texas A&M men's golf team saw its season come to a close on Wednesday following the final day of competition at the NCAA Sammamish Regional where the Aggies finished sixth.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “This is a couple years in a row now that we’ve been so close. It really wasn’t anything we did today, it was the first two rounds where we didn’t finish strong or play the par-5s well. We did better today but the damage was already done and it was a case of too little, too late. I feel bad for the guys, they played their hearts out today.”
Texas A&M (287-296-284=867, +15) fell just four shots back of breaking into the top five of the team standings as Southern Cal [-3], Kent State [+3], Alabama [+10], Florida State [+10] and Penn State [+11] now move on to the NCAA Championship.
Individually, Aggie sophomore Chandler Phillips (71-73-67=211, -2) saved his best performance for the regional’s finale, posting a four-under par 67 to share low round honors with Ian Hold of Kent State. Phillips, an All-SEC first team performer picked up six birdies Wednesday offset by just two bogies to finish seventh in the player standings and punch his ticket to the upcoming NCAA Championship, scheduled for May 26-31 at Rich Harvest Farms Sugar Grove, Ill.
“I’m excited for Chandler,” Higgins said of the Huntsville, Texas, native. “He’s had such a fantastic year, one of the best seasons in program history. We’ve had a couple guys who have won more during a season but he’s put up consistently strong finishes week after week after week. He was a stud today, shooting a 67 on the final round of regionals and earning a spot at the national championship.”
The showing, which saw Phillips surge nine spots up the leaderboard on the event’s final day, was his team-leading ninth top-10 finish of the season.
Junior Andrew Paysse (69-74-71=214, +1), meanwhile, ended play in a tie for 13th following a final round of even par. Classmate Cameron Champ (72-74-72=218, +5) bounced back after a rough start Wednesday, making the turn at five-over par before finishing four-under on his closing holes to finish in a tie for 22nd.
Rookie Dan Erickson (76-78-74=228, +15) and redshirt freshman Brandon Smith (75-75-79=229, +16) rounded out the A&M contingency with shares of 51st and 56th, respectively.
“We went through a lot of adversity this year,” Higgins added. “We lost a player at semester, brought in Dan and had three guys in a car wreck so it just seemed like all season we were always able to overcome. That’s probably the most disappointing thing, I thought we were going to be able to do it again, but we just came up a little short. We’ve got two great recruits coming in and we’re not losing anybody out of our lineup so we’re going to bring back a lot of experience and add a couple new guys who can really compete. The future is bright but that doesn’t make us feel any better about how things ended today.”