SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After 54 holes of stroke play, the field of 30 teams at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship is now 15 (well, 16; more on that in a bit) after Sunday evening’s cut.
Illinois is out in front after a second straight under-par round, sitting at 6 under. Pepperdine, after its Grayhawk record-breaking Sunday, moved into second and is three shots back.
Then there’s Florida, North Carolina and Georgia Tech all within three shots of one another before a big drop off to Stanford, which had the second-lowest round Sunday, in sixth.
And Monday morning, there will be a playoff for the final spot. That’s why we’re not quite down to the 15 who will officially advance.
By Monday evening, the top eight teams remaining after the final round of stroke play will make match play, which begins Tuesday morning.
Meet the teams who made the first cut at Grayhawk.
It’s hard to imagine Illinois being in a better position to make match play. The Illini have played almost flawlessly through the first three days. Being so far in front of the eight-team cut line (currently 13 over), it would be hard to imagine not seeing Illinois make match play. Adrien Dumont de Chassart (4 under), Jackson Buchanan (3 under) and Tommy Kuhl (2 under) lead the way.
NCAA Championship | Round 3@adrienddc closes out a 70 and leads the way for the Illini in a tie for 4th at -4 overall.
Afternoon wave on the course now.
— Illinois Men’s Golf (@IlliniMGolf) May 28, 2023
A wave crashed upon Grayhawk on Sunday, with Pepperdine carding a 11-under 269 to move up three spots and position itself to make match play for the third straight year at Grayhawk. Pepperdine won the title in 2021 and made the semifinals last year, however, it shouldn’t be a shock to see the Waves contending again come Wednesday.
The Waves have led the field in birdies so far this tournament, having amassed 53 as a team.
The 11-under 269 sets a Pepperdine program record for lowest 18-hole score at an NCAA Championships.
The previous record was a 9-under 271 at the 2021 Championships.
— Pepperdine Men’s Golf (@PeppGolf) May 28, 2023
Florida played in the morning wave during the third round for the first time, and the Gators continued their strong play like a day before, shooting 2 under on Sunday and putting themselves into a great spot to make match play. Fred Biondi is tied for third at 4 under, with John DuBois and Ricky Castillo sitting at 1 under.
The Tar Heels caused some concerns when they missed ACC match play last month, but they have been strong at Grayhawk, shooting 5-under 275 on Sunday and playing in the lead group with Illinois and Florida. Dylan Menante, the transfer from Pepperdine, is solo second at 5 under, and North Carolina has gotten solid contributions throughout its lineup.
Tar Heels 5 under today, third-best round of the day so far, and are fourth after 54 holes. Season-low 67 for Peter Fountain and a matching score by Dylan Menante, who is currently second in the individual standings. Will update following afternoon wave. https://t.co/zmOszHFgBR
— UNC Men’s Golf (@UNCmensGolf) May 28, 2023
The 18-hole leader has been consistent this week, and it starts with Ross Steelman, who has shot sub-60 rounds each day and leads by four in the individual competition at 9-under 201. The Yellow Jackets are similar to the four teams in front of them in that if they play another solid round Monday morning, it’s almost a a guarantee they’ll make match play.
— Georgia Tech Golf (@GTGolf) May 28, 2023
This is where the leaderboard starts to get interesting. The top-five teams have separated themselves, but Stanford paces the pack that will be battling to make the eight-team cut come Monday. Stanford shot 6-under 274 on Sunday, which was the second-best round of the day, moving up seven spots. Barclay Brown opened with a bogey and then had four birdies, signing for a 3-under 67.
We’re in the clubhouse with the second best round of the day (274, -6) and the third best of the entire tournament. We’ve risen to sixth overall as four players shot par or better.#GoStanford pic.twitter.com/8R3RaovEla
— Stanford Men’s Golf (@StanfordMGolf) May 28, 2023
The hosts have improved every day after a disappointing 11-over performance on Friday, shooting 1 over on Saturday and 1 under on Sunday. Arizona State made the match play final last year, and it likely wants to try to get back into match play looking to finish what it couldn’t last year. Michael Mjaaseth shot 4 under in the third round to lead the Sun Devils.
Can’t Stop 🤠
Michael Mjaaseth 🧊 with two perfect shots to birdie the par-3 16th. He’s 4-under on the day 💪
— Sun Devil Men’s Golf (@sundevilmgolf) May 28, 2023
While the top seven teams shot under par on Sunday, Florida State begins a stretch of those who were over par. The Seminoles finished at 2 over for the day, their best round of the week, and are tied with top-ranked Vanderbilt for the final spot. If Sunday was the final day, they would have a playoff for the final spot. However, there’s plenty of time left to ensure a spot in match play.
Hand shakes all around 🤝
The #Noles shoot their lowest round of the NCAA Championships at +2 and are in solid position being tied for eighth.
— FSU Golf (@FSUGolf) May 28, 2023
Seeing Vanderbilt in this position may be a surprise to some, but the Commodores haven’t been able to put it all together this week. Still, they have a great shot to get into match play again. Cole Sherwood shot 1 over on Sunday but paces the team at 1 over for the tournament. William Moll was 2 under in the third round. Gordon Sargent, the defending individual champ, is 7 over.
— Vanderbilt Men’s Golf (@VandyMGolf) May 28, 2023
Maybe a surprise for some, but Virginia is well in the mix to earn a match play spot on Monday. Freshman Ben James, who has won five times this season, is 2 under and in the top 10. Fellow freshman Bryan Lee is 3 over, with the two youngsters leading the way. However, the Cavaliers will need some more help to get over the hump.
— Virginia Men’s Golf (@UVAMensGolf) May 28, 2023
Early in the third round, Auburn looked in danger of finishing closer to the cut line, but the Tigers played well down the stretch and had an easy afternoon inside the number. However, starting Monday three shots back will prove a challenge. Reed Lotter shot 3 under on Sunday and will need to continue his momentum Monday.
— Auburn Men’s Golf (@AuburnMGolf) May 28, 2023
Texas A&M needed heroics to even make the NCAA Championship, and now they’ll need to find some magic again to make match play. Sam Bennett, the 2022 U.S. Amateur champion and low amateur at the 2023 Masters, isn’t having his best week (10 over) but Daniel Rodrigues is 2 under and in the top 10 leading the way.
Back-to-back birdies and 3 on the day for @william_paysse
— Texas A&M Men’s Golf (@AggieMensGolf) May 28, 2023
A couple of late bogeys hurt the Crimson Tide, but Alabama was easily inside the cut line and could rest easy Sunday afternoon. However, compared to the teams in front of it, Alabama has plenty of ground to make up come Monday. Alabama made the match play final in 2018 but hasn’t made match play since.
— Alabama Men’s Golf (@AlabamaMGolf) May 28, 2023
To say it lightly, Georgia held on Sunday, and it sat outside of the cut line for a majority of the afternoon. It wasn’t until teams made the turn the Bulldogs finally slipped inside the cut line, and 24 over was good enough to play Monday. However, they’re alive and have to go low to make match play.
— Georgia Golf (@UGAGolf) May 28, 2023
Well, the 15th team hasn’t been decided yet and won’t be until Monday morning. Ohio State’s Neal Shipley made bogey on the final hole after three straight birdies to tie the Buckeyes and Red Raiders, so at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT) the teams will play a five-hole aggregate playoff on Nos. 14-18 to determine who gets the final spot in Monday’s final round of stroke play.
Birdies three of the last four and needs to get down in 2 to send us to a playoff… Neal Shipley comes up CLUTCH!! pic.twitter.com/KrrqL9ZUg3
— Ohio State Mens Golf (@OhioStateMGOLF) May 29, 2023