Men’s golf ends season after strong showing comes up just short in NCAA Tournament

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

NORMAN, Okla. – The University of North Florida men’s golf season came to an end on Wednesday as the Ospreys fell one stroke short of advancing past the NCAA Regionals.

After three strong days of competition in the Norman Regional, one shot separated the Ospreys from the Duke University Blue Devils, who grabbed the final spot to advance to the NCAA Championships.

UNF got off to a strong start on Monday, wrapping up the first day ranked No. 6 of 14 teams. Senior Davis Lee and junior Robbie Higgins led the way for the Ospreys, respectively shooting three-under 69 and two-under 70. 

Monday’s performance set up UNF for success, but they still had a huge challenge ahead. The Ospreys trailed big names such as Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. With only the top five teams at the conclusion of day three advancing, the pressure was high.

Tuesday saw the Ospreys improve their place in the standings, jumping to fifth thanks to another impressive outing from Lee and contributions from junior phenom Nick Gabrelcik, which included five birdies.

Nick Gabrelcik prepares to putt.
Nick Gabrelcik racked up six birdies, while only shooting over par twice on Wednesday. (UNF Athletics)

UNF had shown what they were capable of, but Wednesday’s final round would ultimately decide who got to move on. Teeing off early in the morning, the Ospreys had one last chance to make a push and advance.

The usual suspects showed out, with Gabrelcik and Higgins putting together more strong performances to keep the Ospreys in contention. It became clear that the fifth and final spot would come down to who could make less mistakes: Duke or UNF.

This wasn’t UNF’s first time facing the Blue Devils this season, as they competed in the Rod Myers Invitational, hosted by Duke in September. The Ospreys also knew their opponent, who has finished on the podium in six events this season, would be no easy defeat.

In a brutal turn of events for UNF, Duke put together an on-par performance to secure the final advancing spot by just one stroke. UNF head coach Scott Schroeder expressed pride in his squad, but was inevitably disappointed to come up so short.

“Not the finish we were looking for, but the guys battled until the end and it’s rough to come up one shot short,” Schroeder said. “Another solid year, but always stinks to miss making the NCAA finals.”

The Ospreys will have plenty of experience to take away from the tournament exit as they look to expand on this success next season.


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