May 17, 2014
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Briggs Ranch Golf Course played home to the San Antonio Region this week as 75 of the top collegiate golfers competed over 54 holes.
By all indications, the course played fair. However, during Saturday's final round, the winds did not.
Louisiana Tech sophomore Victor Lange joined the other competitors who all battled steady 25-35 mile per hour winds for the vast majority of the final 18 holes of action.
Lange, who fired a four-under-par 68 on Friday to pull himself back into contention heading into Saturday, joined the vast majority of the field that more times than not played victim to the windy conditions.
Thursday's opening round average was 73.8. Friday's dropped to 73.1. However, Saturday saw the average jump to 75.3 with only seven competitors shooting red numbers.
"The course just played tougher," said Lange, who finished the event tied for 25th with a 54-hole total of 220. "The wind caused a lot of problems. You can look at everyone's scores and (for the most part) it was really difficult on everyone. This week didn't go as I had wanted it to, but it was a great experience. I plan on being back (in the NCAA Regionals) again next year."
Saturday started promising enough. Lange joined Arizona's Erik Oja and Northwestern's Andrew Whalen on the 10th tee and the LA Tech sophomore promptly hit driver to the middle of the fairway, knocked his approach shot to within 15 feet and sank the birdie putt. However, Lange wouldn't find another birdie until 13 holes later.
"It started off the way we wanted it to with birdie on No. 10, but the two par 5s on that side didn't go as planned. Those bogeys hurt. He missed some short putts here and there which hurt. I think it was a little tougher today wind-wise, and he never got it going."
The flat blade was working for Lange early in the round. In addition to the nice birdie putt on No. 10 to start the day, he also sank a 30-plus footer on No. 11 to save bogey as he fell back to even par for the round. Another bogey on the par 5 No. 13 and the par 3 No. 17 saw Lange make the turn at two-over with nine holes remaining.
"Sometimes you hit it solid and good, and it goes an extra 10 or 15 yards further," Parks said. "Sometimes the wind will knock it down 10 or 15 yards short of the target. It makes it difficult to control your golf ball. Yesterday he did well in it. Today it was more of a struggle. It was blowing harder today, and it switched to the south and made the course harder."
Lange continued to compete as he birdies on the par 5 No. 5 and No. 7 bookended a bogey on the par 4 No. 6. Sitting at four-over-par, Lange had one more legitimate birdie opportunity as he landed his tee shot within 10 feet of the hole on the par 3, No. 8. However, his birdie putt failed to find the cup as he closed out his NCAA Regional experience with pars on the final two holes.
"It was an awesome season for him," Parks said. "I think he finished outside the top 25 only twice all year. To be the first player to ever represent our school at regionals, it was a great honor for him. He is a talented player, and he is looking forward to next year already."
Georgia, Georgia State, Vanderbilt, SMU and UCLA finished in the top five of the team competition and advanced to the NCAA Championships. TCU's Julien Brun was the top individual with a three-round total of 10-under-par 206. Brun also advanced to the NCAA Championships.