Muscle Shoals, Ala. – Lynn University's fourth-ranked men's golf team moved up the standings for the second consecutive day to secure the third seed in the 2018 NCAA Division II Men's Golf National Championship match play. This marks an NCAA Division II record seventh match play appearance for the Fighting Knights.
Toto Gana and Manuel Torres earned NCAA All-Championship recognition for top-10 finishes while Jorge Villar was honored as a Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Freshman All-American in a post-tournament ceremony.
Lynn will square-off against sixth-seeded Arkansas Tech with the winner taking on the winner of Barry/Saint Leo. The Fighting Knights have reached the national championship match play four times, finishing runner-up in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
INSIDE THE TOURNAMENT:
Standing: 3rd out of 20 teams
Location: Robert Trent Jones at the Shoals – Fighting Joe Course | Muscle Shoals, Ala.
History at Event: Sixth consecutive national championship appearance; 12th overall (Finished runner-up at RTJ – the Shoals in 2011).
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HOW IT HAPPENED:
- For the second consecutive day the Blue and White posted the second-lowest round, shooting a seven-under par 281 to finish 16-under par for the tournament (848). Florida Southern ran away on the final day to close 24-under par (840) with Barry (846) holding on just ahead of Lynn. West Florida (852) was the only team in the top-eight to shoot over par in the third round but still finished fourth with Indianapolis and Arkansas Tech (858) tying for fifth, Saint Leo (859) taking seventh and Lincoln Memorial (868) in the final match play spot.
- Gana ended the tournament sixth individually after carding a four-under par 68 in the final round. He traded six birdies with two bogeys. The sophomore out of Chile was even after five holes but birdied the sixth and then went on a run of three consecutive birdies after the turn.
- Torres tied for ninth following a one-under par 71. He was five-under par for the tournament. The senior out of Venezuela picked up where he left off in the second round with birdies on two of his first three holes. A triple bogey put him over par but Torres birdied holes 8 & 9 to get back under par. A bogey on No. 14 appeared to sidetrack him but he birdied No. 17 to end the day one-under.
- Felix Kvarnstrom battled a bee sting in the early-goings to shoot a two-under 70. He was over par until the 11th hole when he knocked down back-to-back birdies and then crushed No. 17 for a third birdie on the back nine.
- Carlos Bustos overcame three bogeys over the first five holes to shoot even par and finish one-under for the tournament. Following a bogey on No. 5 to put him two-over, he would connect on 11 pars and two birdies.
- Jorge Villar ended the day with a one-over 73. He was one-under par at the turn and looked to head to the clubhouse even until a bogey on No. 18. Following an 80 on the opening day, the freshman from Mexico was even par over the next 36-holes.
BEYOND THE SCORECARD:
- The South Region claimed six of the eight match play spots.
- Gana's 68 and 209 54-hole total were both one shot off his career-best.
- Lynn's 848 team score is its lowest 54-hole total in a national championship.
- This is the second consecutive year the Fighting Knights have a Freshman All-American while Villar is the fifth overall to receive such recognition (Gana and Kvarnstrom – 17, Ricardo Gouvei & Pepito Joia – 11).
- Every member of the Blue and White birdied the par 5 No. 17 hole. On the day, Lynn went 11-under par on par 5s with 11 birdies, nine pars and no bogeys.
- The Fighting Knights led all teams in par 5 scoring (-22) and was 12 shots better than the second team.
- Bustos (-7), Kvarnstrom (-5) and Torres (-5) were 1-3 in par 5 scoring while Gana was four-under par.
- Only West Florida (61) had more birdies than Lynn's 58.
- Florida Southern's John VanDerLaan claimed the individual national championship with a three-day total of 199 (-17).
- Top-seeded Florida Southern will face No. 8 Lincoln Memorial, No. 2 Barry battles No. 7 Saint Leo, No. 3 Lynn takes on No. 6 Arkansas Tech and No. 4 West Florida squares-off against No. 5 Indianapolis.
- Lynn defeated Arkansas Tech 3-2 in last year's NCAA Division II match play semifinals.
Lynn takes on Arkansas Tech beginning at 8 a.m. from the 10th hole. Fans can keep up with live scoring at LynnFightingKnights.com.