Men’s golf surges into NCAA Championship

The Georgia State men’s golf team played three great rounds of golf to put them in next week’s NCAA championship for the first time since 2007.

The No. 43 Panthers finished in second place in the NCAA Regionals in San Antonio, Texas to move on along with the top five finishers from each of the six regions. The Panthers shot 1-over par, 289, in the tournament to finish only behind No. 6 Georgia who shot 1-under for the tournament.

“We stayed even keel throughout the regional, and it paid off with a great second place finish,” head coach Joe Inman said. “We knew it would take a total team effort to advance and it worked.”

Senior Tyler Gruca led the Panthers shooting 6-under for the tournament to finish third among all the individuals in the touranment, the best individual finish for a Panther in Regionals.

“Tyler [Gruca] showed his senior leadership and really stepped us with the best finish for the program in NCAA Regional play,” Inman said. “I really can’t say enough about what he meant to us.”

Junior Davin White shot the lowest score for the Panthers in Saturday’s round shooting 3-under, 69, the second-best score of the day. White finished the tournament 1-under tied for ninth.

Damon Stephenson shot even for the tournament, freshman Nathan Mallonee hit 11-over for the tournament, and senior J.J. Grey struggled in the touranment finishing 12-over.

The Panthers shot a 292 in Thursday’s first round to finish the day in eighth, but were able to move up to fourth Friday after scoring a 285 putting them in a good position to cruise into the championship Saturday.

“Even after the first round, I felt like we played well and were only a few strokes off the cutline,” Inman said. “Our team has been battle tested in the last three events as even though we won, it always came down to the final hole. I feel like that really helped us today.”

The Panthers came into the tournament having won three-consecutive tournaments, four total tournament wins this season.

The NCAA Championship begins Friday in Huntington, Kansas. The championship consists of 30 teams and six individuals that will play 54 holes. Then, the top eight teams advance to match play for the national championship.