SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. -- Yeah, the Buccaneers have a lot of pride. Yeah, they wanted to win the stroke play portion. Yeah, they wanted to post the lowest scores. Yeah, they believe Danny Stapff should've been a First Team Ping All-American.
But the bottom line is Barry University's men's golf team lives to see another day. Barry shot 289 in the final round of stroke play at the NCAA Division II National Championships at the Cardinal Club Golf Course Thursday. That was good enough to advance the Bucs to Friday's 7:35 a.m. match play, where they'll meet third place Central Oklahoma.
Quarterfinal winners advance to Friday afternoon's semifinals. Match play constitutes an 18-hole head-to-head matchup with each golfer pitted against another from the opposing team, and whomever posts the lowest score picks up a point for the team.
"We didn't play great as a team," Stapff said. "But we played good enough to make it to match play. We play a good team tomorrow. I don't really know the guys because we've never really played against them or with them. So let's see what happens."
Marcelo Huarte shot a 3-under 69 in the final round of stroke play, and Stapff shot even-par to bolster the Bucs' push in to the seeded playoff format. Huarte birdied five holes and bogeyed two others in the top round of the day for Barry.
Stapff shot 7-under for the tournament, finishing fourth in his final collegiate event. He said he wasn't at his best.
"For some reason, I didn't get it done as quickly as the other rounds," Stapff said, referring to his 69-68 start over the first two days. "Today I was just not making as many putts as I was the other rounds, but it was still a good complete finish hanging in there. I grinded a lot. It was a positive going into tomorrow."
Stapff birdied two of the last four holes to close strong, and finished with three birdies and three bogeys.
"This week, I enjoyed the course a lot," Stapff said. "I was comfortable out there, and I could get the most out of my game the last three days. We play a tough team tomorrow."
Simon Forsslund shot even par, settling for two birdies and two bogeys.
"Yeah, it was solid tee to green and making putts," Forsslund said. "I did what needed to be done today, so I'm happy with that."
Forsslund found himself in some rough grass after his second shot on the par-4 18th, but chipped on to within 12 feet from the cup. He sank his downhill putt for par to close out the round on high note.
"We didn't have our best tournament so far, but we did what was needed to be done," Forsslund said. "All of us have great potential as a team to bring this home."
Marcus Segerstrom shot 76, cashing in with two birdies, and Scott Smyers had one birdie on his way to a 79 in the final round.
Chico State won the stroke play portion, shooting 851 and Nova Southeastern was second four strokes back. Central Oklahoma was third at 856.
Josh Creel of Central Oklahoma won the individual medalist honor, capturing a one-hole playoff against Colorado School of Mines' Jim Knous. Both finished the 54-hole event at 10-under. Nova's Ben Taylor was third at 8-under.
Now it's win or go home.
"Yeah, this is a different format than we've been used to playing, but I think it's gonna be a lot of fun," Forsslund said. "I think we're gonna be a strong team, head to head. We have a lot of experienced players, and players that are used to winning so I think this is an advantage for us."