Cypress Point Opens Up For College Golf (Again), Check It Out!

And if you’re in the area Tuesday you can get a rare glimpse of Alister MacKenzie’s masterpiece.

Or there’s Instagram!

A sampling from some majestic fall days on the Monterey Peninsula for the occasional Cypress Point Classic with one day to go:

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Will California's New Law Put Another Nail In The Amateur Status Coffin?

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On the surface, major upheaval in college golf seems unlikely when California Governor Gavin Newsom likely signs the assembly bill allowing college athletes to profit off their likeness.

(Steve Berkowitz’s USA Today report here at Golfweek.com.)

This last paragraph in Berkowit’z piece clarifies the student athlete relationship with their school’s official shoe and apparel deals:

The amendments added by the Assembly include provisions designed to address potential conflicts between prospective athlete deals and school deals, such as shoe-and-apparel contracts. An athlete would not be allowed to have a deal that conflicts with a school contract, but a school contract would not be allowed to restrict an athlete from using their name, image and likeness for a commercial purpose when not engaged in official team activities.

While players now get free clubs, are on a first name basis with tour reps, wear corporate logos in the US Amateur and are committed to agents long before announcing the intent to turn pro, amateur status would seem to be a out the window once a player starts profiting off their likeness. The rules are pretty clear on this front.

However, exceptions for Tony Romo and Lucy Li would seem to open a player profiting off their likeness to point to those cases as amateur status-retaining precedent and therefore maintain access to USGA events or the Masters (should they be so fortunate).

The NCAA’s rebuttal is not expected until next month but given the number of athletes and schools in California, they’ll have a hard time containing this given the bill’s easy victory and support from top athletes.

It’s a huge mess, but one brought on by the NCAA’s refusal to find a solution as it rakes in millions and pays its head man $4 million a year on the backs of unpaid athletes.

Steph Curry Continues To Do His Part To Help Golf

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The Warriors star (legend yet?) visited Howard University, was inspired by a meeting with a student and golfer, and the school is now pledging to rebuild its defunct golf program into a DI team by the 2020-21 season. All thanks to Steph Curry with help from Under Armour, Callaway and his foundation.

Roxanna Scott of Golfweek reporting from the launch Monday at Howard.

Curry spent some time with a group of students that left a big impression on him. “Every student had a passion, a vision something they wanted to do to change something at Howard, something they wanted to do to change the world,” Curry said Monday at a news conference at Langston Golf Course. “Hearing each one of their stories was empowering and encouraging.

“Otis, we connected in golf in terms of our passion for the game, in terms of what the game has taught both of us,” Curry said. “The idea of recreating Howard’s golf team, turning it into a Division I program for men and women was born that night.”

Once Again Team Match Play Highlights Golf At Its Best: Stanford Beats Texas For 2019 NCAA Title

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Olympic golf is about to be on our radars and players will be forced to pretend how excited they are about the possibility of playing a purse-free WGC event at a greater Tokyo country club, the 2019 NCAA Championships once again reminded how much more compelling team match play is than 72 holes of stroke play.

Nothing about this year’s college golf should have been that compelling other than seeing a historic team cap off their season. They didn’t so two other top ten teams faced off in the final. Still, it featured players largely unknown to most watching, a course featuring an odd set of often buzz-killing green complexes and less than ten hour turn around to beat storms. Yet Stanford and Texas put on another stellar match play era show.

Everything about the modern NCAA’s TV-friendly format continues to be fan friendly and a constant, pesky reminder of Olympic golf’s refusal adopt a team format. Seeing players fight for their team in a sport where lone wolf types generally excel, and watching coaching and team components juxtaposed with match play makes for the ultimate “grow the game” theater. It also helps to have a telecast free of promos, thus allowing more time to listen in on player-coach conversations or to simply let announcers set up situations.

Anyway…

Stanford, taking its ninth title, looked soft last fall and made a change in approach, Brentley Romine writes for GolfChannel.com:

After Stanford finished eighth or worse in each of its three stroke-play events in the fall, Ray knew his squad needed to toughen up. He added a Friday morning workout to the team’s weekly training schedule. The high-intensity conditioning, led by assistant coach Matt Bortis, likened to a boot camp for golfers, so the team coined the hourlong sessions, “Bortis Camp.”

Bortis, who played three years at Arkansas before becoming an All-American at Texas as a senior, spent eight years in the Marine Corps prior to taking the Stanford job last October.

“Without a doubt, I’d say that we were the underdogs, but I think some of the stuff that we’ve been doing together has proven guys otherwise,” Bortis said. 

Speaking of Bortis, he touched all bases today. Winning on the course he once played at, coaching against the alma mater he played for after transferring to Texas and helping lead Stanford to a title. Adam Woodward with the details of a wild journey.

The highlights:


Texas, Stanford Advance In Day Of Wild NCAA Men's Semifinal Action

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The vaunted Oklahoma State Cowboys were upset by that little upstart from Austin, while Stanford put away Vanderbilt in a thrilling NCAA afternoon session.

Due to a dreadful weather forecast, tee times have been moved up to early morning with a 7:30 am local start for Golf Channel. Coverage time update:

While the strangest story of the day should be the stunning upset of #1 ranked Oklahoma State—a team of historic proportions in terms of season long and stroke play qualifying—Adam Woodward’s Golfweek look at the driver saga of Stanford freshman Daulet Tuleubayev is a doozy. And all of this was going on as the frosh was trying to win a match, accidentally hit his ball off of the 17th green with practice strokes, and then somehow birdied the last.

Tiger Woods congratulated his alma mater immediately after the Cardinal clinched:

Brentley Romine at GolfChannel.com focuses on Texas’s amazing play, highlighted by Cole Hammer beating NCAA individual champion Matthew Wolff and senior Steven Chervony’s win over Zach Bauchou.

Bauchou’s heartbreaking horseshoe miss that led to Texas winning.

Full Golf Channel highlights from the Texas-Oklahoma battle:

Latest Green Reading Book Silliness: NCAA Championship Official Book Deemed Non-Conforming On Event Eve

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Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols details the latest fiasco with non-banned-but-should-be green reading materials”: official yardage books from the NCAA Division I women’s championships are non-conforming. By 1/16th of an inch. On ten of the holes.

“We’re just going to go to Office Depot and get some sticker labels and cover up all 18 of them,” said Purdue coach Devon Brouse.

Officials didn’t specify which of the 10 holes were in violation.

The new interpretation for Rule 4.3a, which went into effect Jan. 1, stipulates that players may use a putting-green map during play, but it must be “limited to a scale of 3/8 inch to 5 yards (1:480).”

The original green reading book ban discussions would have been more restrictive, but the USGA and R&A watered things down a bit, and now we have the same information, only smaller. Most of the time.

Just ban them and get it over with!

Team To Root For Files: Florida Tech Women Make NCAA's After Program Is Dropped

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You just hate reading things like this and hope the young women who want to keep playing college golf find an outlet for their talents, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for Florida Tech in the May 14-18 NCAA DII finals at PGA National, writes Golfweek’s Todd Kelly.

This suggests the Golf Gods may be on their sides, too…

On April 10, Florida Tech won the Women’s Panther Invitational.

It was the final home tournament in program history and the team’s third win in the last four events this season.

Follow Up On PGA Tour College Program: Champions Question As Another Young Player Turns Pro (Prematurely?)

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As the inevitable (and certainly understandable) cries of “that’s what Q-School was for” tumble in, the PGA Tour’s exploratory look into a system that feeds college players to their various tours is being met with expected criticism. As someone who loved Q-School (and wrote many blog posts in favor of saving it), the criticisms are legitimate from the geezers who remember the old system (Brentley Romine reports for GolfChannel.com).

That said, the ship on a proper calendar year schedule has sailed until fall sponsors realize they are badly overpaying for very small audiences.

In the meantime, college players, who make up the majority of polished, long-term PGA Tour players that fans get to know and watch grow old because they arrive on tour a complete player, are turning pro earlier than ever.

Check out Romine’s latest exclusive for GolfChannel.com on Alabama losing senior Davis Riley a semester short of getting a degree and finishing off a storied career for the Crimson Tide. Of all the players I saw at the U.S. Amateur, Riley was the most polished and complete. Maybe he didn’t have the extreme upside of eventual winner Viktor Hovland or runner-up Devon Bling, but his prospects are certainly strong. And yet, the only reason he’s turning pro can only be chalked up to the current schedule and system that has agents convincing him sponsor’s invites await, setting up Davis to maybe make enough money in 7 starts to earn a card.

This is a longshot players are repeatedly convinced to take by agents and families, with very few succeeding. Which is why any system that encourages players to finish out their careers makes more sense than what we have now.

Could The PGA Tour Be Onto Something Brilliant With College-To-Tour Concept?

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Nice work here by Golfweek’s Brentley Romine to reveal some details of a PGA Tour plan to get in the business of connecting college golf with the various tours.

The plan is clearly in the early stages. And the PGA Tour’s acknowledgement quote (below) suggests they are looking for feedback on an ambitious plan to reward season-long college play with spots on various PGA Tours. We don’t know which tours or how many spots. But given the damage the wraparound season has done to men’s golf, along with the recent oddity of top college women playing LPGA Q-School mid-season, it’s refreshing to see a pro tour taking a proactive approach to the silly rush to turn pro.

Anything designed to encourage players to stay in school and develop their games and character should be celebrated. We’ve already seen too many young players fail because of immaturity, with more on the way in a sport that may be getting younger, but not that young!

The potential program, as outlined by Romine, could slow down the rush to turn pro for some and make aspiring players in college stick around longer.

“The PGA Tour has been working to develop a new program that will identify, prepare and transition top collegiate golfers to professional golf,” according to a Tour statement sent to Golfweek. “This program will be designed to reward season-long collegiate play with varying levels of playing access to tours operated under the PGA Tour umbrella, while upholding the principles and virtues of collegiate athletics.”

In other words, the best college golfers would be guaranteed status on one of several tours, ranging from PGA Tour China to the PGA Tour.

One Tour official with direct knowledge of the project called it “unprecedented.”

It certainly would be and if successful, the program could even impact the disastrous current system in the NBA.

We discussed today on Morning Drive.


Unspeakably Senseless: The Loss Of Celia Barquin Arozamena

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I’m not sure I’ve read a more horrific, dismaying or heartbreaking story than the murder of recent Iowa State golfing great Celia Barquin Arozamena of Spain. Thanks to all who sent the initial news reports.

Two pieces worth your time in trying to appreciate her life taken by a sick vagrant as she simply practiced at Coldwater Golf Links.

Dylan Dethier for Golf.com pieces together the events and the many lives she touched around the world as an elite golfer and Iowa State’s female athlete of the year who was soon to be honored at halftime of a game.

Beth Ann Nichols for Golfweek tries to capture Arozamena’s personality and spirit, as well as a needless loss that will devastate so many lives.

Also the Des Moines Register has set up this page devoted to all coverage of her death.

Evian Eve, ANWA And College Golf: State Of American Women's Golf In The Spotlight

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The forces are strong, contrasting and fascinating: no American has won a major in 2018 and barring a miracle, the fifth and final LPGA major teeing off this week will produce just the fourth year ever when at least one American prevailed in a major.

Matt Adams and I debated on this week’s Golf Central and with all due respect to the many fine players, the struggles of American women is the top storyline for me. My expression in the screen capture summarizes the fixed nature of the topic, but I digress.

Clearly, next spring’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur will add another bit of incentive for aspiring American women, and we are about to start seeing if the Drive, Chip and Putt produces elite talent, but there appears to be some disagreement about the role college golf has (or has not) played in developing talent.

With six scholarships available at fully-funded Division I programs, the reports of unused scholarships have raised eyebrows about what we are doing to develop junior girls. Jack Nicklaus brought this up in his Morning Drive appearance this week hosted by Gary Williams and in conjunction with Gary Player and Lee Trevino.

But as Beth Ann Nichols notes in this Golfweek story, the misconception is not a great one given how many programs are not fully or even partially funded.

Or as she writes, “Junior girls can’t pluck a full ride to college like an apple from a tree.”

From the story:

“I think it’s a very common assumption that full rides are readily available,” said Kelly, whose program does not have six full scholarships. “I hear this frequently … ‘You are at a wealthy institution. Your school has the money.’ ”

Brandi Jackson hears it too. For nearly 10 years the former LPGA pro has guided players and their families through the recruiting process.

“There’s a big chunk of your better academic schools who may only have one scholarship among the whole team,” Jackson said. “Eight girls on the team … the majority of those girls are paying to be there.”

Something to keep in mind…

A) when you wonder why Americans are falling behind in a sport they once dominated

B) when donating to the athletic department’s general fund

C) when wondering why your alma mater’s women are not attracting the best players

But hey, on that bright note, the scenarios for a new No. 1 and other highlights going into the fifth (gulp) and final LPGA major played for the last time in September.

Speaking of LPGA majors, one of the American rally killers earlier this century spoke of the new Augusta National Women’s Amateur and it’s potential influence today on Morning Drive:

NCAA Men's Final Set: Oklahoma State V. Alabama

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Golfweek's Lance Ringler says the storylines are flowing in Wednesday's finale between Oklahoma State and Alabama. With OSU on their home course--the charm-free Karsten Creek--and huge crowds expected, Alabama faces hometown opposition in numbers possibly never seen since the format change. 

The Cowboys have won all year collecting nine victories in 12 starts and now they may be playing in front of the biggest home crowd college golf has ever seen.

They are talented and that talent has produced wins, which has created confidence. All five players are ranked in the top 72 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and all five players have a scoring average below 72.

This will be fun to see the two styles go head-to-head in an atmosphere that may be unmatched to anything we have seen and may ever see again in college golf.

 

Kevin Casey with the nuts and bolts of how the two teams survived some tight match-ups to advance to Wednesday's final.

Ryan Lavner focuses on Alabama's late season rise thanks to talented freshmen, including Wilson Furr.

“I’ve never been on a team with freshmen who can play this way,” senior Lee Hodges said. “I knew they’d be great players, but they’re even better than I thought.”

And to think, Furr couldn’t even crack the Alabama lineup in the fall, his game in disarray because of what was later described as the driver yips. Karsten Creek might be the last place on Earth that a player with long-game troubles would want to compete – “There’s a lot of crosses out there – it’s killed a lot of good players,” Seawell said – but Furr got his game back on track this spring with the help of swing coach Jeff Smith. In the semifinals, Furr routed his opponent, 7 and 6.

“They’re special kids,” Hodges said.

The final match-ups and times.

Golf Channel's coverage features the Golf Central Pre Game from 2-4 p.m., the Championship Match from 4-8 p.m. and Golf Central from 8-9 p.m. ET.

Earlier in the day, Texas's loss to Duke meant the end of Doug Ghim's career. The Masters low amateur and 2017 U.S. Amateur runner-up was joined by coach John Fields to talk with Chantel McCabe and the emotions were real as you'd expect from one of the closer player-coach bonds in the game.

Everett Pulls NCAA Upset, Team Match Play Draw Not Full Of Many Surprises

The 152nd ranked player who'd never won a college event birdied the first hole of sudden death to win the NCAA men's individual golf title. Broc Everett of Augusta's upset win over Auburn's Brandon Manchedo comes in contrast to the final 8 teams headed to match play, where Duke's fine play surprised.

Kevin Casey of Golfweek on Everett's improbable win. He's a senior playing in his last event and picked a nice time to finally win. 

As Ryan Lavner notes for GolfChannel.com, the win is also a huge boost to Augusta, a program that has fallen on hard times since it's glory days the last time the NCAA's were at Karsten Creek.

Everett broke down the day on Golf Central:

Team Match Play begins with quarterfinal action on Golf Channel from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET, followed by semi-finals from 4-8 pm ET.

Team Match Play Quarterfinal Matchups:

Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
Duke vs. Texas
Texas Tech vs. Alabama
Oklahoma vs. Auburn

Texas made the most valiant effort to get to match play and with two seniors making clutch birdies on the last hole--both Walker Cuppers--they should prove formidable, writes Golfweek's Brentley Romine.

The Golfweek boys have very different views on who will win the match play portion.

Lavner isn't happy that this year's first and second ranked teams are playing in the quarters (OSU v. A&M), arguing in a GolfChannel.com column that once again the national rankings and season-long efforts count for nothing in match play.  

If you were wondering why play seemed slight faster than last week's women's championship--key word seemed--turns out they handed out some slow play penalties in this year's event. Though players in some cases were never warned and as Lance Ringler writes for Golfweek, the NCAA Championship time par system differs from regular season policies.

One thought for the next coaches meeting: using a coach as a rangefinder target for a par-5 layup shot on national TV isn't the best look. Especially on a playoff hole taking 30 minutes to play:

Haley's Putt: "It was a real-life fairy-tale finish for the ages."

U of A's Haley Moore clinched the deciding match to win the 2018 NCAA Women's team title

U of A's Haley Moore clinched the deciding match to win the 2018 NCAA Women's team title

Like any golfer, you won't be surprised to learn that Haley Moore has been subjected to her share of self-doubt. But at 6'2" and an early enrollee to Arizona, Moore has dealt with her share of bullying and obstacles to overcome. 

As Beth Ann Baldry writes in an excellent Golfweek story the day after a Cinderella story finish, there is more to learn about Moore, the latest U of A golf great who has LPGA aspirations.

The first time Arizona associate head coach Derek Radley saw Haley hit a golf shot was off the cart path at Reunion Resort. The high school freshman hit a low-draw 6-iron to the middle of the green. Radley was immediately hooked.

“I saw a kid young and full of talent, not really sure of herself,” said Radley. “Man, if we could get her into our program and just pump her full of confidence, sky’s the limit.”

Baldry detailed a nice moment after the emotional day between Moore and Alabama's Cheyenne Knight, who now sets her sights on the LPGA Tour, writes Golfweek's Brentley Romine.

Haley! Thrilling Finish (Salvages An Obnoxiously Slow) NCAA Women's Golf Championship

Arizona Wildcats, 2018 NCAA Womens golf champions   

Arizona Wildcats, 2018 NCAA Womens golf champions

 

They covered the television spectrum of awful to amazing over the course of Wednesday's NCAA Women's Golf Championship: there was the moribund Karsten Creek, a Fazio design just oozing with ryegrass overseed and a level of drabness that exceeds even his established standards for expensive mediocrity.

Worse, it was a course devoid of spectators--beyond family members and officials. The only real sound came from a plane flying above to capture great aerials. 

All day there were players playing each shot as if it were their last, consulting pace of play-expediting rangefinders, only to then go to their yardage books and coaching insights as we waited, waited and waited for a golf shot to be struck. Then they got to the greens where they looked into green books and we viewers waited more to see golf shots.

It was enough to make anyone despise what has become of the college game.

Yet all of the tediousness was rendered (somewhat) moot when Alabama's Lakareber Abe recovered from a 17th hole debacle to hit perfect shots at the 18th and force a sudden death playoff for the team title between her Crimson Tide and Hayley Moore of Arizona.

Moore ultimately sank the winning putt for the Wildcats and besides delivering her the memory of a lifetime, gave us viewers the chance to experience a highlight improbable win by the 8th seeded-Wildcats. Good for Haley and her teammates: you were clutch and genuinely earned this title.

As for the college coaches and NCAA that have been handed the gift that is national television exposure: shame on you. No one in their right mind tuning in could come away with a positive impression of college golf when they see shots taking two minutes to play and absurd coaching intrusions and slow play. 

Okay back to the athletes.

Kevin Casey's Golfweek.com gamer. 

Ryan Lavner on the improbable journey of Arizona, a lineup somewhat cobbled together after a major mid-season defection and another attempted departure.

Moore's interview with Kay Cockerill after sinking the winning putt.

The final day highlights from Golf Channel:

Then There Were Two: Alabama Vs. Arizona For NCAA Women's Title

Alabama's Lauren Stephenson

Alabama's Lauren Stephenson

Led by a "Big 3" of seemingly unbeatable talent Alabama heads into Wednesday's NCAA women's final the overwhelming favorite, notes Golfweek's Brentley Romine. 

And while no one will ever call a Pac 12 school from Arizona an underdog in golf, the Arizona women hope to continue a string of upsets and all on very little sleep after escaping Monday night's bizarro playoff, writes Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols

(Speaking of which, if you saw the shotgun playoff used and hope to never see it again, Lance Ringler's commentary will be very agreeable.)

Highlights for Alabama fans from the semifinal win over USC.

Highlights from Arizona's win over Stanford after having beaten UCLA earlier in the day.

The final day matches courtesy of GolfChannel.com.

The Wednesday schedule on Golf Channel:

Golf Central Pre Game           2-4 p.m.

Championship Match           4-8 p.m.

Golf Central                            8-9 p.m.

NCAA Women: And Then There Were Eight (After An Extra Two Hours Because Play Is Painfully Slow)

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I'm not sure anyone tuning in early on to the final stroke play day of the NCAA Women's Golf could have come away feeling good about what they saw.

--Six hour rounds. 

--Players pushing around grocery cart-sized trolleys with corporate-emblazoned umbrellas.

--Coaches interjecting mind-numbingly simple advice adding to the excruciating pace. 

--A lush, tree-choked, traditionally anti-septic Fazio design free of spectators that even friends and family passed on coming to see.

--The debut of a new episode of Driven delayed two hours. But boy those OU and OSU boys know how to board a private jet and leave the bag loading to a luggage handler! America!

Anyway, the entire affair in Stillwater felt like anything but a national championship, despite the fine effort by Golf Channel and the course maintenance team. And what a shame, as eventual individual winner Jennifer Kupcho is a phenomenal redemption story, pulling away to victory in front of her parents and excited teammates. 

As Ryan Lavner recounts for GolfChannel.com, Kupcho lost last year's individual title down the stretch and faced a water-lined hole this year to clinch the coveted individual title. This time, she was all clutch and the pride exuded by all made the long slog of a day all worth the payoff.

On the team side, Arizona defeated Baylor in the dark to secure the 8th and final spot in match play starting Tuesday.  This after Arizona junior Bianca Pagdanganan (T2 at 6-under par) eagled the 18th hole to force a playoff. The two-hole team playoff ended action two hours after Golf Channel was due to sign off.                                                                                                      

Team Match Play Quarterfinal Matchups starting at 10 am CT:

UCLA vs. Arizona

Alabama vs. Kent State

USC vs. Duke

Northwestern vs. Stanford

Highlights:

It's NCAA Men's Regional Week: Golfweek And Golfstat Are Your Friends

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With the men's NCAA Division I regionals getting underway, there is, of course, only one place to go and that's the hub of all things college golf: Golfweek. The firm of Romine, Casey and Ringler will have the lowdown. 

Lance Ringler noted this in his handy primer on the various regions and players to keep an eye on, especially for conspiracy theorists who grumble about teams hosting a regional (count me in!):

Teams that have hosted a regional are 28 of 38 (73.6 percent) in advancing to the NCAA finals.

  • Teams that are hosting a regional and seeded within the top 5 are 23 of 26 (88.5 percent) in advancing to the NCAA finals.

  • Teams that are hosting a regional and seeded outside the top 5 are 5 of 11 (45.4 percent) in advancing to the NCAA finals.

For scores, you MUST download the updated and modernized Golfstat app, available for both iPhone and Android. The desktop options are great too.

Virus, Schmirus: How About Those Baylor Women!

Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols reports on the impressive fortitude of the Baylor women's golf team advancing to the NCAA Championships via the Austin regional.

This, despite losing a player in final round play to a bizarre virus that swept the region, while another played sick.

East Carolina was forced to forfeit and health officials have no answers as to what caused the mystery virus to spread at University of Texas Golf Club.