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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M qualifies for NCAA tournament

Photo by Courtesy of Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics

Texas A&M men’s golf coach Brian Kortan released the Aggies 2021-2022 competition schedule with the first tournament scheduled to take place on Sept. 5. 

Last season, Texas A&M men’s golf fell within one stroke of advancing to the NCAA tournament. It can be difficult to overcome such adversity, but A&M, ranked No. 12, had a successful 2021-22 season that resulted in the team hosting a regional at its home course, Traditions Club in Bryan. In front of A&M was a perfect opportunity for the team to make up for what happened a year ago.
In Round 1 of the regional, senior Sam Bennett led the way for A&M.
Bennett posted a 4-under round to finish the day tied for third. The other Aggie in the top 10 was junior William Paysse, in a tie for seventh at 3-under par. Fifth year senior Walker Lee also finished tied for 16th. Individually, Arizona junior Chase Sienkiewicz was in first place after an impressive 7-under par first round.
Overall, the Aggies were 8-under par and in third place. In front of the Aggies were Arizona at 12-under par and No. 6 Pepperdine at 9-under par.
Scoring was much harder to come by in the second round.
However, that didn’t stop Paysse from making a run at the top of the individual leaderboard. Paysse ended the day in a tie for first place at 6-under par after posting 3-under par for the second round in a row.
Paysse said his short game helped him perform well in Round 2.
“I thought I played pretty well,” Paysse said. “It was a lot different than yesterday. I didn’t hit my irons as well as I’d like to, but my chipping and putting really saved me today. It was nice. It felt good to finish that one off and post a good number. I think I’m in a good spot, as well as the team, so I think if we just stick to the plan, we’ll be in good shape.”
Lee jumped into the top 10 with a 2-under round. Bennett fell back to 17th after finishing over par in Round 2.
As a team, A&M remained in third place at 10-under par, and Arizona remained in the lead at 13-under par going into the final round.
Lee said the regional is still up for grabs because of how close the standings are at the top of the leaderboard.
“The nine shots [separating first and fifth place] are not much,” Lee said. “The difference between first and fifth doesn’t really mean anything because our goal coming into the week was to win and defend our home turf. Chasing the lead will be a good mindset to have tomorrow.”
A&M coach Brian Kortan said the maroon and white are ready to perform well in the final round in front of the 12th Man.
“You always think you can prepare for your home golf course, but you can’t prepare for the outside noise,” Kortan said. “The Aggie [Invitational] helps because we have a lot of friends and family that are here and it’s a privilege to play at home and have that kind of pressure on you. It’s earned, and our guys handle it well. We have a mature group, and we will be ready to fight through 18 holes tomorrow.”
In the final round, A&M did what needed to be done to advance to the final round. Both Paysse and Lee registered top-15 finishes, with the latter breaking into the top 10 with a 1-under par final round. Sophomore Daniel Rodrigues was able to jump into the top 20 behind a strong final round score of 2-under par.
A&M’s 4-under par score was enough to finish third in the regional and qualify for the NCAA Championships. This will be A&M’s 33rd trip to the tournament.
Kortan said A&M qualifying for the tournament despite Bennett — one of the top collegiate golfers in the country — not performing up to his usual standards was a testament to the team’s talent.
“I don’t think we had our best stuff this week,” Kortan said. “When Sam [Bennett] doesn’t play well and for us to get through is a big deal and shows that these guys know what they are doing. They trust each other and get out there and play hard for each other. When you do that, you have the chance to accomplish some things.”
Lee said A&M is grateful to advance after what happened last season and is excited to compete at the NCAA tournament at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Az. The tournament will take place from May 27 through June 1.
“My first two years, we won regionals and we took it for granted and missed last year,” Lee said. “Missing nationals was probably one of the worst feelings I have ever had in golf. We are not taking it for granted, and we are looking forward to Arizona.”

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