June 3, 2006
Sunriver, Ore. – Never able to mount a rally Saturday, Cameron Tringale shot a two-over-par 74 and nevertheless finished among the top 10 individuals at the NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship at Crosswater Golf Club.
The first-year player from Laguna Niguel, Calif., finished the championship with a three-under-par total of 285 (73-70-68-74), in a tie for eighth place, nine shots off the pace of Oklahoma State’s Jonathan Moore, a red-shirt freshman who earned medalist honors and led the Cowboys to the team title.
The finish was Tringale’s fifth in the top 10 this spring and sixth for the year. Following the tournament, he was named to the Golf Coaches Association all-freshman team for 2006.
Tringale bogeyed his first hole Saturday after missing a short par putt, bogeyed No. 11 after his approach shot went over the green, and bogeyed the par-5 16th after missing the fairway to the right. He balanced that with only one birdie, that coming on the par-3 13th after hitting his tee shot within six feet.
“I wish the team had been playing today. It didn’t feel the same with them watching and not playing,” said Tringale, who managed to avoid the trouble off the tee that his teammates encountered during the first three rounds of the championship.
The freshman was part of Tech’s team that played the Golfweek/Preview Invitational here in the fall, and he was not nearly as successful, tying for 28th place at five-over-par 221 over 54 holes. This week, Tringale has been nearly automatic in driving the ball in the fairway, missing none in his four-under-par round of 68 on Friday.
“I usually drive it pretty well. It’s by far the strongest part of my game,” he said.
Tringale had a nice fall for Tech, with one top-10 finish, but came on strong in the spring with five top-10s and two titles, the first at the UH-Hilo Invitational and the second at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. He has been the Yellow Jackets top finisher in seven of 12 events overall, and was named the ACC’s Freshman of the Year.
“Things just started clicking during the spring,” said Tringale. “My short game really improved in the second semester after I had a lesson over the break. It’s still not great, but it’s better. I probably had one of the worst short games out here in the fall, shooting myself in the foot most of the time. Now it’s better and more consistent.” Tringale became the third Tech freshman to earn a top-10 finish in his first NCAA Championship, joining David Duval in 1990 and Bryce Molder in 1998.
Asked how he felt about his chances for winning top freshman honors in the nation when those awards are announced, Tringale said, “I don’t worry about that. It’s someone else’s decision. It’d be sweet, a little desert for the end of the year.”
In the team race, Oklahoma State shot 5-under-par Saturday and held off the charging Gators (9-under for the day) by two shots and Minnesota (6-under for the day) and Wake Forest (1-under Saturday) by three. Washington, the 54-hole leader by three strokes, fell to a tie for ninth in the final standings after posting a 13-over-par score Saturday.
Individually, Moore finished at 12-under-par 276, four shots better than Georgia’s Chris Kirk and Wake’s Kyle Reifers.