June 1, 2002
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Georgia Tech junior golfer Troy Matteson fired a 4-under-par 67 on the final day to come from four shots back and become the first Yellow Jacket to win the NCAA Individual Championship on Saturday afternoon at Ohio State’s par-71, 7,222-yard Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.
Matteson recorded four birdies in his final round, including a chip in from 25 feet at the 14th hole to go along with birdies at one, four, 13 and 16. The final-round score of 35-32=67 tied the best final-round score in the NCAA Championship by a Tech player. Matteson’s total of 8-under-par 73-66-70-67=276 also tied with Matt Weibring (2000) and Matt Kuchar (1998) for the second-lowest 72-hole NCAA total in school history. Matteson out-distanced TCU’s Adam Rubinson (68-67-72-69=277) by one shot for the title.
“I played well today and stuck to my game plan all day,” said Matteson. “I just went out and tried to make as few mistakes as possible. It was shocking at first to think that I won the national championship, but it’s started to set in now. I’m glad that my parents and family were here to see me play and play well. I was fortunate to have some good breaks go my way today. Still, I would trade this for my four teammates to get to win this as a team with me.”
Though Matteson is Georgia Tech’s first national medalist since the NCAA began conducting the championship, he is the third Tech player to win a national collegiate championship, joining Watts Gunn (1927) and Charlie Yates (1934).
On the team end of things, the top-ranked Yellow Jackets were unable to hold on to their lead of 54-holes but played well, carding a final-round score of 1-over-par 285 to finish the tournament at 2-over-par 277-286-290-285=1138. That total wound up four shots off the pace to team champion Minnesota, which fired a final-round score of 278 and came from three shots behind to capture its first men’s golf national championship with a 2-under-par total of 284-289-283-278=1134. The second-place finish marks the fourth top-five finish for Tech in the last five years and the third runner-up finish in school history.
“I just kept telling them to keep playing and to stay focused,” said Heppler. “I’m proud of my guys, they won seven times this year and finished second at the NCAAs, I don’t think that’s a sign of failure. This group (Matt, Kris and Troy) have won 19 tournaments since they got here and I think that shows a consistent effort on their part. My hat is off to Brad James and Minnesota, he did a great job of keeping them focused with all of the distractions there and today they played a phenomenal round of golf. Troy is the first player we’ve had win the NCAA individual title and he really is a great player. I think he made a birdie on the first hole after the rain delay Wednesday and carried that momentum through the rest of the tournament.”
Matteson was followed in the individual standings by senior Kris Mikkelsen, who closed out his collegiate career with a second-straight even-par 71 to finish at 2-over-par 70-74-71-71=286. Nicholas Thompson was the next Tech individual, finishing the event at 5-over-par 67-73-75-74=289, while senior Matt Weibring followed him at 7-over-par 70-74-74-73=291. Freshman Chan Wongluekiet rounded out the Yellow Jacket contingent by finishing at 10-over-par 70-73-76-75=294.
Tech finishes the year with a school-record seven team titles and placed three players on the All-ACC, while Chan Wongluekiet earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors and Heppler being named ACC Coach of the Year.
Full tournament results are available at www.golfstatlive.com.
FINAL TOP-10 TEAM RESULTS1. Minnesota 284-289-283-278=11342. Georgia Tech 277-286-290-285=11383. Clemson 286-277-298-281=1142 Texas 291-275-290-286=11425. Augusta State 289-283-290-281=11436. NC State 286-281-292-285=11447. Purdue 284-287-293-281=11458. Pepperdine 284-288-286-288=11469. Arizona 282-290-288-290=1150 Tulsa 281-289-284-296=1150
TOP-10 INDIVIDUALS AND TECH PLAYERS 1. Troy Matteson, Georgia Tech 73-66-70-67=276 2. Adam Rubinson, TCU 69-67-72-69=277 3. Hunter Mahan, Okla. St. 68-71-67-72=278 4. Graeme McDowell, UAB 71-67-67-74=279 Justin Smith, Minnesota 69-70-71-69=279 6. Justin Walters, NC State 70-67-71-72=280 Nick Watney, Fresno State 72-68-70-70=280 8. Matt Anderson, Minnesota 73-71-71-66=281 Michael Beard, Pepperdine 71-72-67-71=281 Ryan Moore, UNLV 72-69-68-72=281 Par Nilsson, Okla. St. 71-73-68-69=281 D.J. Trahan, Clemson 71-66-78-66=281