After watching former Duck Aaron Wise notch his first PGA Tour victory last weekend, Oregon’s Norman Xiong will try to follow in his footsteps as an NCAA champion.
Xiong and the Ducks will compete in the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships starting Friday at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla. Xiong notched his sixth individual victory of the season at regionals, helping the Ducks qualify for the NCAA meet with a fifth-place finish.
Xiong is third in the latest World Amateur Golf Ranking. The two players ahead of him, Doug Ghim of Texas and Braden Thornberry of Mississippi, are also in the NCAA field. This probably will be his last chance to win an NCAA title, as he has said he plans to turn pro after the season.
The Ducks are appearing in the NCAA meet for the ninth time in 12 seasons under coach Casey Martin. Oregon won the team title two years ago at Eugene Country Club, the same year Wise earned individual medalist honors, and finished second to Oklahoma last season.
Oregon will need an entire team effort to challenge for the title this season. Junior Ryan Gronlund is coming off a strong finish at regionals, where he finished tied for 12th after shooting 6-under in the final round. Edwin Yi is next on the team with a 72.35 stroke average, followed by freshman Donald Kay at 74.10 and sophomore Kevin Geniza at 74.58.
Teams play three rounds of stroke play starting Friday and concluding Sunday, with the top 15 teams and top nine individuals advancing to the next round. Monday’s round of stroke play will determine the eight teams that advance to match play and the individual stroke-play champion.
The team champion will be determined through a match-play bracket with quarterfinals and semifinals Tuesday and finals Wednesday.