ALLENDALE, Mich. – Barry University’s No. 1-ranked men’s golf team will play for the NCAA Division II National Championship at 9 a.m. Friday. Live video coverage through the NCAA begins at noon by clicking HERE.
The Buccaneers, the No. 2 seed, beat No. 3 seed Chico State, 3-2, in the NCAA Match Play Semifinals at The Meadows Golf Course's par-71, 7,034-yard layout on a day that began with chilly conditions for Thursday's morning quarterfinals before warming up, despite heavier winds in the afternoon session.
Barry will play Nova Southeastern in the finals. Last year the Buccaneers beat Lynn in the title match, hence marking an All-Sunshine State Conference final for the second straight year. Nova was a 3-2 winner over No. 5 seed Malone.
In the win over Chico State, Barry's Scott Smyers lost by three strokes to Will Flitcroft in the first head-to-match to finish. Barry senior Jared Dalga, a Grand Rapids, Michigan, product playing in his hometown neck-of-the-woods, beat Alistair Docherty by two strokes to square the match at 1-1.
Barry junior Berry Jole defeated Lee Gearhart by seven strokes to give the Bucs a 2-1 lead. Chico's Justin Wiles was a three-stroke winner over freshman Mario Beltran. That left the fate in the hands of sophomore Adam Svensson, the No. 1-ranked player in the country. Barry's all-time tournament victories leader delivered with a three-stroke win over Ricky Owaki to send the Bucs to the title match.
Jole shot a 1-under 70 in the semifinals, while Svensson carded a 1-over 72. Dalga shot 75, Beltran 78 and Smyers 80. Flitcroft, Docherty and Gearhart all shot 77, and Wiles and Owaki 74 for the Wildcats.
The Bucs beat No. 7 seed Cal State Monterey Bay, 3-2, in the quarterfinals.
When Jole held on to win his match against the Otters' Carr Vernon, it sealed the deal in a matchup where two other Bucs had already won their individual duals.
Leading by a stroke entering the final hole, Jole and Vernon each bogeyed. Jole shot 73, and Vernon 74. Svensson led Ray Richards by six strokes entering the final hole in the last match of the quarters.
Smyers dropped his match to Brandon Hortt by eight strokes. Smyers shot 81, while Hortt carded a 2-over 73. Beltran beat Anton Rosen by three strokes to secure the Bucs’ first point. Beltran shot 75 to Rosen’s 78. Dalga lost his match to Dylan Jackson in a back-and-forth battle. Dalga shot 3-over, while Jackson was 1-over.
Svensson, who had a three-birdie, bogey-free front nine, shot par to finish five strokes ahead of Richards.
The Bucs moved on to play No. 3 seed Chico State in the semifinals.