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Ducks Advance To Monday's Fourth Round

May 29, 2022

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Two precocious young Ducks helped the Oregon men's golf team make the cut to Monday at the NCAA Championship tournament.

Sophomore Greg Solhaug shot 1-under 69 and freshman Greyson Leach added an even-par 70 on Sunday to help the Ducks end the day in 13th place. Following Sunday's round the field was cut from 30 to 15 teams for Monday's final round of stroke play in the tournament.

The Ducks ended the day at 36 over for the championship on the 7,289-yard Grayhawk Golf Club. That score was 10 shots behind the eighth-place team, the last spot in the field for the match-play quarterfinals that will be held Tuesday morning. Oregon will go about trying to make up that gap Monday, after making the cut to play in the fourth round.

"It's obviously a great accomplishment because these are the best teams," UO coach Casey Martin said. "We're gonna have to play mistake-free tomorrow to advance, but it will be fun to give it a shot. Yeah, we're excited."

Solhaug started his round Sunday with consecutive bogeys, then played the remaining 16 holes in 3 under. Leach had one birdie and one bogey plus 16 pars in his round, giving him 44 pars in the tournament through three rounds — most of any player in the field.

"Usually in these tournaments you're seeing how many birdies you can make, and how deep you can go," Leach said. "But here it's just about flat-lining and not making big mistakes and errors and stuff. We've had a little bit too much of that. But for me today, I barely made any errors, which is really good."

How It Happened: The Ducks got a birdie from Owen Avrit on their final hole Saturday to get Oregon into the 15-team morning wave for Sunday's round. That was expected to have earned the UO men a respite from Grayhawk's afternoon winds, but an unusually breezy morning had an effect on Oregon's round Sunday.

Over holes No. 1 and No. 2, the Ducks took seven bogeys and one double bogey. But all five UO men took par at No. 3, which seemed to stabilize the team. Solhaug, Leach and Nate Stember all birdied No. 4, and Solhaug carded another at No. 5 on his way to Oregon's lowest individual round of the tournament so far. Solhaug's last birdie of the day was at No. 15, where he made a 35-foot putt from the fringe on a two-tiered green.

"I just knew I had a lot of holes to go," Solhaug said of bouncing back from the early bogeys. "It was just silly mistakes, so I knew it wasn't anything too serious."

Leach, meanwhile, used his birdie at No. 4 to get back to even before taking par on every remaining hole. Stember and Avrit had to grind out rounds of 6-over 76 while Yuki Moriyama struggled to an 81. Still, the Ducks advanced to Monday with a roster in Arizona this week that doesn't feature a senior.

"You've got to take these little baby steps and learn that you can compete, and feel comfortable on a course like this," Martin said. "It's really tough, tough conditions. And so every time you play in stuff like this, you grow and you build that 'grit muscle.' And so hopefully that will help us in the future."

When the Ducks wrapped up their round Sunday, they were in 17th place, below the cutline to play Monday. But the trend of higher scores in the afternoon winds held up, and a handful of teams slipped down below Oregon to advance the UO men to the fourth round. The Ducks will be the lowest-ranked team in the 15-team field Monday, at No. 27.

Team Leaderboard
1. #1 Oklahoma 287-275-277—839 (-1)
2. #2 Oklahoma State 289-277-277—843 (+3)
3. #3 Vanderbilt 282-282-281—845 (+5)
4. #5 North Carolina 288-281-280—849 (+9)
5. #6 Pepperdine 294-282-277—853 (+13)
6. #4 Arizona State 290-292-277—859 (+19)
7. #7 Texas 291-291-278—860 (+20)
8. #14 Arkansas 294-286-286—866 (+26)
T9. #17 Auburn 285-296-288—869 (+29)
T9. #8 Texas Tech 297-287-285—869 (+29)
13. #27 Oregon 285-300-291—876 (+36)

Ducks on the Leaderboard
T34. Greyson Leach 71-76-70—217 (+7)
T49. Greg Solhaug 72-78-69—219 (+9)
T62. Owen Avrit 75-70-76—221 (+11)
T100. Nate Stember 70-80-76—226 (+16)
T116. Yuki Moriyama 72-76-81—229 (+19)

What It Means: A year ago the Oregon women's team made the cut to Monday, which helped propel them into their season this spring that ended in Wednesday's match-play final. Now, the UO men could be on a similar trajectory.

"This gives us a chance to make it to Tuesday, and anything can happen on Tuesday," Solhaug said. "We're also a young team, with plenty of years to go, and all of us are staying. It definitely shows that we can compete against the best."

The Ducks reached Monday's round for the fifth time since the current NCAA Championship format was adopted in 2009. Oregon reached match play each of the previous four times, most recently in 2017, a year after the UO men won the NCAA title.

Avrit Honored: Avrit was named to the Ping All-West Region team on Sunday. It is the first career Ping award for Avrit. It is the second straight year that Oregon has landed a player on the West Region team, following Tom Gueant's selection last season. Avrit is the Ducks' 18th All-Region selection under Martin.

Up Next: The Ducks begin their fourth round Monday from the No. 1 tee at 10 a.m.