Hall Wins Albuquerque Regional to Advance to NCAA Championship
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Junior Ryan Hall made history on Wednesday in the Land of Enchantment, as he won the 2021 Albuquerque Regional by a shot over Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett and Oklahoma’s Jonathan Brightwell. With the victory, Hall advances to the 2021 NCAA Championship as an individual next week at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Knoxville, Tenn., native fired a final round 69 (-3) to finish with a 54-hole score of 205 (-11). He shot 68 (-4) in both the first and second rounds. Hall made a clutch birdie today at the par-4 sixth to take a two-shot lead with three holes to play. He bogeyed seven and made a three at the difficult par-3 eighth hole after nearly sinking a 75-foot birdie putt. Hall the ripped his drive down the fairway at the par-5 ninth and had an eagle look that just missed. He tapped in for birdie to take a one-shot lead over Bennett, who also made birdie on the hole. Brightwall was at 10-under but bogeyed 17 and then made birdie at 18 to get back to 10-under and tie for second with Bennett.
“Ryan has had a great year, obviously, and he’s put the team on his back,” said head coach Bill McDonald . “Unfortunately today he couldn’t make enough birdies to save the team. He really played well and closed it out with a clutch better on the last hole - just an incredible two-putt on his 17th hole. It was really cool to be with him and walk the last nine holes with him while he battled it out to win another event. He knows how to close out a golf tournament.”
Hall made 15 birdies and a pair of eagles over the last three days and led the field in par-3 scoring average (2.67, -4). He finished T-2nd in par-5 scoring average at 4.17 (-10). He is just the third regional champion in program history joining former All-American and PGA TOUR player Kyle Thompson, who won regionals twice as a Gamecock in 1999 and 2001. NCAA Regional play began in 1993.
The win is the third of Hall’s career and his second this season. He won the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational on Easter Sunday for his first win (second career) of the 2020-21 season. He shot 202 (-14) with a bogey free 66 (-6) in the second round and a carded final round 64 (-8) to force a playoff with Pepperdine’s Dylan Menante. Hall made birdie on both playoff holes to win and earn a sponsor exemption into the PGA TOUR’s 3M Open this summer in Blaine, Minn. He was recently named First Team All-SEC and earned a spot on the U.S. Arnold Palmer Cup Team.
It was a tough day today at UNM’s Championship Course for the Gamecocks as a team, shooting a final round 293 (+5) to finish ninth with a total score of 861 (-3). Carolina had played solid the first 36 holes and was positioned well going into today, as it was T-4th at 8-under with No. 14 Texas A&M. The Gamecocks were five shots back of the top-five number at the turn and were unable to rally on the backside of the course, with just two counting scores shooting under par the final nine holes.
“We had no wind today,” said McDonald. “We had some tough pins but to shoot over par in these conditions, we don’t deserve to go - we just don’t. An over par round in these conditions you don’t deserve to go to the National Championship. I feel bad for our guys because they fought hard all year. When it came time to get it done, we just didn’t do it. Our seniors, great guys, great Gamecocks and we’re going to miss them.”
Super seniors Jamie Wilson and Caleb Proveaux each shot 2-over 74s. Wilson chipped in for eagle and Proveaux made birdie on the final holes of their careers in Garnet and Black at the par-5 ninth. Sophomore Jack Wall was the final counting score with a 76 (+4). Senior Jack Parrott also shot 76 (+4) in his final appearance as a Gamecock.
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