Cougars advance to NCAA golf nationals - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Cougars advance to NCAA golf nationals

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HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. — After firing its best round of the week, the 10th-ranked Columbus State men's golf team is advancing to the NCAA Championship with a third place finish at the South/Southeast Regional. The three-day event concluded Wednesday at the Mission Hills Golf Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, FL.

The top seven teams in the tournament advanced to the NCAA Championship that will be held May 20-24 at the Hershey Country Club in Hershey, PA. It will be the 32nd appearance all-time for the Cougars in the championship event.

Columbus State posted the second best team score in Wednesday's final round with a three-over par 291. The Cougars moved up three spots after starting the day in sixth place.

Only top-ranked Nova Southeastern (855) and No. 2 Barry (871) bested the Cougars (887) over the three days. Sixth-ranked Florida Southern (887) matched CSU while No. 5 Lynn (889) captured fifth.

No. 18 West Florida (890) and third-ranked USC Aiken (891) will also be advancing to the NCAA Championship.

After posting CSU's drop score on Tuesday, Yannick Gumowski carded the first under-par round of the tournament for the Cougars as he came in with a one-under 71. Starting on the back nine, Gumowski jumped out of the gates with four birdies in the first nine holes making the turn at four-under. The front nine was a little more difficult as he gave shots back on holes two, four and six but was still able to end the day in red figures. His strong finish to the tournament tied him for 28th place at seven-over par.

Bryan Lichimo's good play Tuesday carried over to Wednesday's final round as he fired a final round 73. It was an up-and-down start for the redshirt-sophomore as he birdied his opening hole before posting a double-bogey and bogey on the next two, respectively. A birdie on 14 and another later in the round brought him back to even, but a late bogey on seven put him over par. Due to a rough round one, Lichimo finished tied for 49th at 11-over.

Matching Lichimo's round of one-over Wednesday was Jesse Gibson. The redshirt-sophomore made a bogey at 12 before birdies at 14 and 18 put him under par as he made the turn. On the front side, Gibson made three bogeys sandwiched around a birdie at six to leave him with a final round 73. Gibson was 10-over for the three rounds and tied for 45th.

Freshman Jack Stumpfig proved to be the most consistent golfer for CSU over the three rounds as he posted a two-over 74 Wednesday after rounds of 74 and 75 over the first two days. Stumpfig made the turn under par after two birdies and just one bogey through the first nine holes. However, the front nine proved to be more difficult as it did for the other CSU golfers. After a birdie on one, he lost shots with four bogeys over the final seven holes. Stumpfig finished seven-over for the tournament tied with Gumowski in 28th.

After firing the low rounds on Monday and Tuesday for CSU, Robert Mize shot the Cougars' drop score in the final round. All looked well for the freshman as he had three birdies and just a lone bogey over his first 11 holes. From there, he stumbled with bogeys on three and five and double-bogeys on four and eight to finish the round at six-over. Even with his struggles in the final round, Mize was Columbus State's top finisher for the tournament finishing in 21st place at six-over par.

The Cougars will be back in familiar territory in the NCAA Championship as their 32 appearances are the second most in Division II history. Columbus State has won six national championships to go along with eight runner-up and five third place finishes.

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