A trip to the national tournament wasn’t on the scorecard for Darren Edwards when the final hole was played Saturday at the NCAA Division II West/South Central Super Regional men’s golf tournament.
The Fort Lewis College junior shot his way into contention in the first of three rounds of the tournament at The Home Course in Dupont, Washington.
But Edwards slipped from a tie for fourth place in the opening round with his 2-under-par 70 to a tie for 37th after 54 holes after shooting 7-over 79 and 4-over 76 in his final two rounds.
"It was a fantastic experience and something I know I'll remember for the rest of my life," Edwards said in a team news release. "I hope to be back and, as a team, I think we will be back here next year."
Edwards battled tougher weather conditions in his final two rounds along with the pressure that comes with contending in a strong field with 16 teams and 86 players all trying to qualify for the NCAA Division II Championships.
"My swing got pretty quick after the first day, and I made some mental mistakes,“ he said in the news release. ”But I learned a lot about myself and my game from the experience that will pay dividends moving forward. Even though I didn't play as well as I'd have like those last two rounds, I still really enjoyed myself on every hole and the coaching staff was great. They did a wonderful job helping me through every hole this tournament and I thank them for that."
The win went to Thomas Jenkins of Sonoma State University. He shot 5 under for the tournament with a closing-round 3-under 69. Texas A&M Commerce’s Zach Burch was second at 4 under, while Garrett Woodin of Montana State-Billings was third at 3 under.
CSU-Pueblo’s Andrew Ni, who was the 36-hole leader, finished tied for fourth at 2 under. He shot 2-over 74 in the final round to see his two-shot lead evaporate.
Texas A&M Commerce won the tournament at 10 over as a team. Saint Martin’s University was second at 15 over, Sonomoa State was third at 16 over and CSU-Pueblo was fourth at 18 over to edge Montana State-Billings by one shot to be the last of the four teams from the super regional to qualify for the NCAA Championships later this month in Palm Springs, Florida.
FLC finished second in the conference this year for its best finish in a decade, and Edwards was the first Skyhawk to go to super regionals since 2012.
"The program is building, and we've been trying to build a program that is sustainable for years to come because we've now set a standard,“ FLC head coach Jim Flotz said in the news release. ”Darren has been a huge part of that as a captain, as a good team member and now as a D-II Super Regional player. He gained so much experience from this weekend that he's going to be able to come back and show our younger guys what it takes and what is to follow."