Men’s Golf: UVA advances to match play; will face Auburn Tuesday in NCAA quarterfinal round

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

For the second consecutive year, the Virginia men’s golf team advanced to match play at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships. The Cavaliers finished the 72 holes of stroke play at the Omni La Costa Resort North Course in Carlsbad, Calif., tied with North Carolina for third place at 11-over 1163. UVA shot 7-over 295 during Monday’s final round. UVA was seeded seventh heading into the event.

The Cavaliers won the tie-breaker with North Carolina for the third seed for match play based on the cumulative dropped score during the four-round tournament.

“It was solid all the way through,” UVA head coach Bowen Sargent said of his team’s performance. “We dropped a little here on 18 which is slightly disappointing, as we made a couple of bogeys there. We’ve played 20 solid rounds over the course of the week and competed well. I like what I’ve seen.”

The Cavaliers will face sixth-place finisher Auburn in the quarterfinals of match play on Tuesday. That match will start at 7:40 a.m. PT from the 10th tee. Auburn finished with a team score of 19-over 1171. The Tigers entered the NCAA Championships as the nation’s top-ranked team. The winner of that match will meet the winner of the match between Vanderbilt and Ohio State during Tuesday afternoon’s semifinals.

“This is the second year in a row for us to make it to match play,” Sargent said. “It’s hard because there are so many good teams and so many good coaches and everyone is working hard. You do take a lot of pride in making it to the final eight.”

Illinois finished first in stroke play at 6-under 1146, including a final round of 4-under 284. Also advancing to match play was second-place Vanderbilt (1162), fourth-place North Carolina (1163), fifth-place Florida State (1164), eighth-place Ohio State (1174) and eighth-place Georgia Tech (1177).

Ben James led the Cavaliers with a runner-up finish for medalist honors at 2-under 286. James shot 1-over 73 during the final round and tied with five other players for second place, one shot behind Georgia Tech’s Hiroshi Tai. Tai led the tournament after the opening round with a 5-under 67. He shot 1-under 71 during the final round.

James started his round with birdies on holes one and eight but slid back following bogeys on holes nine, 10 and 12. One shot off the lead, he posted pars on his final six holes, several times seeing potential birdie putts roll just past the hole.

James’ finish was the second best by a Cavalier at the event and the best turned in during stroke play. Dixon Brooke won the NCAA individual title for UVA in 1940 when a match play format was used to determine the national champion. James was sixth at the 2023 NCAA Championships as a freshman.

“I started off really good, 2-under through eight,” James said. “My chipping kept me in it as I hit some not great iron shots, but my short game was good. A couple of the holes I put it in some tricky spots, but I felt like I hit only one or two bad putts on the day. I didn’t hit it in play as much as I would like, but outside of that everything was pretty good.”

UVA’s George Duangmanee tied for 15th place at 1-over 289. He also shot 73 during Monday’s play. His younger brother, Josh, was 18th at 290. Josh posted a final-round score of 74. Bryan Lee and Deven Patel tied for 59th place at 12-over 300. Lee shot 76 during the final round while Patel shot 75.

Last year, UVA lost to eventual NCAA Champion Florida 3-2 in the quarterfinals of match play. Lee and Patel both picked up wins for UVA against the Gators while George Duangmanee and James also competed but lost their matches. It was the first time Virginia qualified for match play since the format was added to the championship in 2009.

Golf Channel’s coverage of Tuesday’s match play will take place from 1-3:30 p.m. ET for the quarterfinals and from 6-10 p.m. ET for the semifinals.

This year marked the 19th time the Cavaliers have participated in the NCAA Championships. The previous best finish was last year, when UVA was seventh (1131). The Cavaliers’ other top-10 showing came in 2017 when the tournament was held at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Virginia’s second-place finish at this year’s NCAA Baton Rouge Regional was the best in program history.


A trio of Virginia players picked up honorable mention All-America honors thanks to their respective finishes during stroke play. That group included James, and the Duangmanee brothers. Players finishing in the top 15 (plus ties) following the third or fourth round are presented the honor. The College Golf Coaches Association will name its first and second team All-Americans at a later date. It marks the first time UVA has had three All-Americans in the same season.

Josh Duangmanee (UVA) vs. Carson Bacha (AU) – 7:40 a.m. PT
George Duangmanee (UVA) vs. Brendan Valdes (AU) – 7:50 a.m. PT
Bryan Lee (UVA) vs. Josiah Gilbert (UA) – 8 a.m. PT
Deven Patel (UVA) vs. Jackson Koivun (UA) – 8:10 a.m. PT
Ben James (UVA) vs. J.M. Butler (UA) – 8:20 a.m. PT