Texas Tech Headed Back To NCAA Championship

Texas Tech coaches and players pose after qualifying for the 2013 NCAA National Championship on Saturday at the Columbus Regional at Ohio State University Golf Club.

May 18, 2013

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Texas Tech held on to a three-shot advantage down the stretch and qualified for the NCAA National Championship for the first time since 2010 after a 27-over par, fifth-place finish at the NCAA Columbus Regional at Ohio State University Golf Club on Saturday.

The Red Raiders shot 8-over 292 as a team on the final day to remain in fifth place ahead of Virginia (+30) and No. 10 Stanford (+32).

"I'm really proud of our guys," said Tech head coach Greg Sands, who qualified for nationals for the sixth time. "They believed in themselves and all the credit goes to them. They didn't necessarily start great but hung in there down the stretch and made some really good pars and got up and down.

"We did a really good job of sticking to our game plan and staying positive. I really believe that's why we advanced."

New Mexico (+18) edged out Auburn (+20) and South Carolina (+20) for the team title. UNLV will join UNM, Auburn, South Carolina and Tech as the five qualifiers.

Sophomore Esteban Restrepo led Tech throughout the final day and finished with the day's team low - an even par 71. Sophomore Clement Sordet shot a 2-over 73, followed by senior Finley Ewing IV and sophomore Matias Dominguez who each shot a 3-over 74. Henry Todd rounded out the scores with a 4-over 75.

Dominguez finished tied for fifth individually with a 2-over 215 total for the three days.

The Red Raiders consistently kept themselves within two or three shots of the cut mark throughout the day despite a rough start on the front nine. Tech was 5-over par on the first three holes then had three of its five players make birdie on the 618-yard, par-5 sixth hole to get back to a tie for fourth. Restrepo and Ewing each carded even par scores for the front nine.

This will be the second national championship appearance for Ewing, who played on the 2010 team at The Honors Course in Chatanooga, Tenn.

"I really didn't want today to be my last round in college," Ewing said. "I'm pretty excited for all of us because we've worked really hard this year and we've been through a lot but we deserve this for sure."

Restrepo deserved plenty of credit for helping the Red Raiders keep pace ahead of playing partner Stanford who began to fall back out of the field on the back nine. Restrepo would find two more birdies on each of the par threes to go with two bogeys on the final nine. He was the only player on the team to record a birdie on the 221-yard, par-3, 17th - which played as one of the tougher holes this week.

"The second nine - I couldn't even catch my breath," Restrepo said. "It was an amazing feeling after we knew we were in. It was such a relief because we've worked really hard for this."

Tech will head to Atlanta, Ga., May 28-June 2 where the national championship will be played on the Crabapple Course at Capital City Club.




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