Skip to main content

Ducks Bank Final-Round Experience

May 30, 2022

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A slow start Monday doomed Oregon's chances of playing its way into the stroke-play quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship tournament, as the Ducks saw their 2021-22 season come to an end in the final round of stroke play at 7,289-yard Grayhawk Golf Club.

Needing to make up 10 strokes on the eighth-place team entering the day, Oregon made seven birdies on the way to a collective round of 26-over 306. The Ducks ended the day 15th in the 15-team field, at 62-over 1,182 for the tournament.

"It was a tough way to finish, but we're grateful to be able to play today and I think we learned a lot," UO coach Casey Martin said. "We just need to get a little better, and make it back and give it another run."

Grayhawk will host the NCAA Championships again in the spring of 2023. Oregon will return all five players who participated in this year's event, when the Ducks posted the 15th top-15 finish in program history to cap a year that included two tournament wins and seven top-five finishes.

"It was going to take a really special effort today — we were definitely gonna have to be under par," said junior Nate Stember, who led the Ducks on Monday with a final round of 4-over 74. "We didn't get off to a good start, and put ourselves behind the eight ball. But there's a lot to build off for a really young team, and we'll be back here next year."

How It Happened: The Ducks again struggled on the opening holes of the par-70 course, playing the first two holes in 9 over as a quintet. The only birdie on the front nine for Oregon was courtesy of sophomore Yuki Moriyama, who birdied No. 6 on his way to a 5-over 75, his best round since Friday.

Oregon's best players Sunday, when the Ducks made the cut from 30 to 15 teams for Monday's final round, were Greg Solhaug and Greyson Leach. They struggled to score Monday and were a collective 17 over. Owen Avrit wrapped up his tournament with a final round at 10 over.

Stember was 6 over through 10 when he put together a late flourish. The Portland native, an honorable mention all-Pac-12 selection this spring, birdied the par-3 13th hole and then No. 15 and No. 17 as well. Like Moriyama, Stember's round Monday was his best since Friday, when the Ducks ended the first round tied for second in the field.

"Today was not exactly what we had talked about or imagined," Stember said. "I was trying to have some fun down the stretch with the guys in the group, and it kind of led to some good play down the stretch."

Monday's round capped a strong postseason for Oregon that saw the Ducks finish fourth in the Pac-12 Championship tournament, then capitalize on a second round of 18-under par at NCAA Regionals to advance to nationals. The Oregon women are fresh off a match-play final appearance Wednesday, one year after their 2021 season ended in the final round of stroke play at Grayhawk, and the UO men will now look to follow a similar path over the course of the next 12 months.

"A lot of these teams have been to this course and played the national championship here, so having that experience under our belt with a pretty similar squad here next year will be really nice," Stember said. "It's a lot to build off of; we made the top 15, which was one of our goals. The other was to get into match play, which we didn't quite pull off. This has gotta be the hardest challenge of our year — probably everybody's year — so learning about that and knowing what to expect when we come back here next year will be a big help, for sure."

Team Leaderboard
T1. #3 Vanderbilt 282-282-281-289—1134 (+14)
T1. #1 Oklahoma 287-275-277-295—1134 (+14)
T1. #5 North Carolina 288-281-280-285—1134 (+14)
4. #7 Texas 291-291-278-277—1137 (+17)
5. #2 Oklahoma State 289-277-277-298—1141 (+21)
6. #6 Pepperdine 294-282-277-293—1146 (+26)
7. #4 Arizona State 290-292-277-289-1148 (+28)
8. #8 Texas Tech 297-287-285-284—1153 (+33)
15. #27 Oregon 285-300-291-306—1182 (+62)

Ducks on the Leaderboard
T57. Greyson Leach 71-76-70-78—295 (+15)
T64. Greg Solhaug 72-78-69-79—298 (+18)
T67. Nate Stember 70-80-76-74—300 (+20)
T69. Owen Avrit 75-70-76-80—301 (+21)
74. Yuki Moriyama 72-76-81-75—304 (+24)

What It Means: The Ducks had much to celebrate and much to learn from in the wake of their first NCAA Championships appearance since 2018.

"You can't simulate this kind of environment, and the difficulty of it," Martin said. "You've got to go through it and you've got to get humbled a little bit, and then have it help you get better. And we will get better."