BATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Purdue Fort Wayne men’s golf team wrapped up its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Regional on Wednesday (May 17), led by Fort Wayne native Nick Holder (75-72-76-223).
Holder’s 223 is the Mastodons’ best 54-hole mark in an NCAA Regional by an individual in program history, topping Zach Schroeder’s 236 in 2018. In fact, all five Mastodons that competed in the Bath Regional this year tied or bested that score from Schroeder.
Holder started and ended his final round with streaks of pars, starting with six on the front and finishing with five on the back. His round also featured a birdie on the tough 234-yard par-3 12th hole. The massive green proved no issue for Holder in round three. Holder’s 223 was good enough for 62nd place in the field of 75 of the best golfers in the country.
Burke Pitz had his best round of the week on Wednesday, shooting 74. After a par, bogey, par start, he birdied hole four, a 591-yard par-5. He placed his approach shot perfectly, just four feet shy of the cup, then sank the birdie putt. After four more pars in a five-hole stretch from 7-11, he birdied 12 and 13. He finished with three pars from 15-17 and a bogey on 18. Pitz finished the week with a 75-76-74-225, which put him in 66th place.
Kasey Lilly also had his best round of the week, shooting 75-81-73-229. On Wednesday, he was bogey-free for his first six holes, which included a birdie on hole four. After a well-placed drive, Lilly decided to go for the green on the 591-yarder in two. He was off, but not by much, just five yards off the green and pin-high. He went up-and-down for the birdie. On the back, he joined Holder and Pitz as the Mastodons that birdied 12. Lilly finished in 71st place.
Playing better than in round two, Jadden Ousley finished the week with a 74-83-75-232. In the final round, he started with four pars before birdieing hole six. He was 1-under on six this week. He started the back nine with a birdie, then got five more par putts to fall. Ousley finished one spot behind Lilly in 72nd.
Hunter Mefford finished his NCAA Regional debut with a 72-77-87-236 performance. He started with pars on one and three before a tough stretch of holes that pushed him to 8-over. He settled down to start the back nine, rattling off six pars in the first seven holes. After finding some trouble on his second shot on 18, Mefford chipped from the back fringe of the green and nearly holed out for par. His 236 put him in 73rd place.
As a team, Purdue Fort Wayne shot 296-306-298-900, taking 13th in the 13-team field, which was where they were seeded coming into the event. The Mastodons were not far off of Big Ten foe Wisconsin, as the Badgers shot 873. Georgia took the team title with an impressive 823 (-29). Illinois (831), Oregon (838), Florida (840) and Texas (842) will join the Bulldogs at the NCAA Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona. Kansas State’s Luke O’Neill shot 206, and will be the Bath Regional’s individual representative. Fellow Horizon League competitor Mikkel Mathiesen from Wright State was one shot away from forcing a playoff for the individual spot.
The best season for Purdue Fort Wayne comes to a close with a program-best 293.86 season average.