ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Saving its best for last, the NM State men’s golf team enjoyed its finest round of the NCAA Men’s Golf Southwest Regional on the tournament’s final day, shooting a 290 (+2) Wednesday at The Championship Golf Course to solidify its 12th-place finish in the program’s first regional appearance since 2015.
The Aggies carded an 883 (+19) through the three-day regional, finishing about Oakland (900, +36) and Prairie View A&M (944, +80) on the team leaderboard. NM State’s cumulative score of 290 (+2) during Wednesday’s final round was better than that of five teams including Nevada (291, +3), 41st-ranked Oregon State (292, +4), South Carolina (293, +5), Oakland (298, +10) and Prairie View A&M (308, +20).
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s final round, five teams – #22 Texas Tech, #12 Arizona State, #41 Oregon State, #1 Oklahoma and San Diego – made the cut for the 2021 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship Tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., next week. South Carolina’s Ryan Hall also moved on to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship Tournament by posting a 205 (-11) – the best score of all competitors during the regional tournament.
NM State’s best performance of the day came from WAC Freshman of the Year Aidan Thomas. Playing in front of a large contingent of his family and friends, the Albuquerque, N.M., product shot a 70 (-2) through his final 18 holes of the tournament to finish the regional tournament in a tie for 51st place. Thomas racked up six birdies against four bogeys to cut six strokes off of his score from day two.
Garrison Smith wrapped up the best regional tournament by an individual NM State golfer since 2013 by firing a 72 (E) through his third round. Through the three-day regional, Smith carded a 213 (-3), finishing in a tie for 18th place on the individual leaderboard. The last time an Aggie golfer finished in the top-20 in a regional tournament came in 2013 at the NCAA Southwest Regional tournament in Tempe, Ariz., when senior Justin Shin shot a 207 (-3) to tie for 11th place while Brett Walker carded a 208 (-2) for a 17th-place finish.
From an individual standpoint, Smith’s three-day score of 213 (-3) allowed the sophomore out of Mansfield, Texas, to finish ahead of 10 top-100 players, better than two top-25 players and above one top-ten competitor.
The Aggies’ only other top-50 finisher aside from Smith was Joseph Robson. The freshman replicated his 72 (E) from day two by racking up another four birdies on the third and final day. It allowed the Newcastle, England, product to shoot six spots up the leaderboard and finish in a tie for 47th place.
Within minutes of each other, Alvaro Morales and Cole Grossl penciled in the only two eagles of the regional round for the Aggies. Morales penciled in a three on the par-five 18th before Grossl recorded a three on the par-five first minutes later. Grossl’s final scorecard showed a 76 (+4) on the final day, helping him finish in a tie for 64th on the individual leaderboard.
Morales’ final day saw the freshman fire a 78 (+6) to finish in a tie for 65th place.
Playing in its first regional tournament for the first time since 2015, NM State got to the regional round courtesy of the play by a lineup consisting of all freshmen and sophomores in the WAC Tournament. That young group helped the Aggies win the WAC Tournament by a single stroke, punching the team’s ticket to the NCAA Regional Round as a result.
2021 NCAA Men’s Golf Southwest Regional | Final Results
12. NM State | 300-293-290=883 (+19)
T18. Garrison Smith | 71-70-72=213 (-3)
T47. Joseph Robson | 77-72-72=221 (+5)
T51. Aidan Thomas | 76-76-70=222 (+6)
64. Cole Grossl | 76-78-76=230 (+14)
T65. Alvaro Morales | 78-75-78=231 (+15)