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

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

The Battalion

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Men’s golf finishes runner-up at SEC Championship

Sophomore%26%23160%3BChandler+Phillips+finished+tied+for+127th+at+the+NCAA+Championships.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo via 12th Man

Sophomore Chandler Phillips finished tied for 127th at the NCAA Championships. 

It was close but no cigar for No. 16 Texas Men’s Golf at the SEC Championship in St. Simons Island, Georgia this weekend. In the Championship match, the Aggies trailed No. 3 Vanderbilt in four of five matches when the pairings made the turn after nine holes. Texas A&M mounted an inspired comeback, but were ultimately defeated in a sudden death playoff as Vanderbilt went on to win their first SEC title.

“We got off to a pretty rough start, but the guys hung in there,” head coach J.T. Higgins told 12thman.com. “Cam was in control of his match and did a good job, but Brandon was struggling. So it was 1-1 and in all of those other matches we were down two. Paysse showed amazing fight to win No. 14 and 15 to even his match, then battled all the way to the 23rd hole. Chandler just did what he does. He was down two going to No. 15, then birdies two of his last four holes to win his match up.”

The championship was decided in a sudden death playoff after Texas A&M’s Andrew Paysse and Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein were all square after 18 holes. The two battled it out until the match was decided by an unlikely par save from Augenstein on the fifth hole after he had hit an errant tee shot.

“I hope our guys learned [at the SEC Championship] that they’re a great team,” Higgins said to 12thman.com “I feel like we thought we were a good team, but now I hope they realize they’re a great team that can play with anybody. When we play our best golf we can beat anybody in the country.”

The tournament was set up in two separate phases. The first two days featured 54 holes of regular stroke play in order to crown an individual champion. The field was then cut to eight teams based on stroke play standings, and the rest of the tournament featured head to head match play in a bracket format until a winner was ultimately crowned on Monday. This is the first year that match play has determined the SEC Champion.

Behind some solid individual performances in the stroke play portion of the tournament, the team qualified as the second seed in the match play portion of the event. Sophomore Chandler Phillips (-6) and junior Cameron Champ (-5) both notched top-5 spots finishing in a tie for 3rd and a tie for 5th respectively. Freshman Brandon Smith (+3) claimed a tie for 23rd place, while junior Andrew Paysse (+6) and freshman Dan Erickson (+9) finished in ties for 36th and 48th respectively.

The Aggies defeated Missouri 5-0 in the quarterfinals and Alabama 3-2 in the semifinals to reach the championship match against Vanderbilt.

“It was an amazing effort by Cam, Chandler and Andrew, all three of them almost went undefeated in match play,” Higgins told 12thman.com. “It’s hard to lose when you’ve got guys doing that.”

Leaving this tough loss in the rearview mirror, the Aggies will shift their attention to the 2017 NCAA Championship, which features teams competing at various regional sites on May 15-17. The site assignments will be announced on Golf Channel at 11 a.m. on May 5.

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