COLUMBUS, Ohio – Just keep grinding. That was the story for the Ohio State men’s golf team this week. The first two rounds of the NCAA Auburn Regional weren’t exactly what they wanted, but the Buckeyes were right in the mix for one of the five qualifying spots heading into the final round.
On Wednesday, the Buckeyes produced one of just two under-par rounds, a 3-under 285, to finish in fourth place and punch their ticket to the NCAA Championship for the second consecutive season. This will be the 48th NCAA Championship appearance for the Buckeyes and their first in consecutive seasons since 1997 and 1998.
“Today is always a special day and it brings forth an exceptionally high volume of emotions,” head coach Jay Moseley said. “This week is what every team and athlete prepares for all season. Our guys came out with courageous energy today and their performance on the final nine holes was truly spectacular. I could not be more excited for our team. We know our team is equipped with the skills to play Greyhawk and this week confirmed that we can play with anyone in the country when we play at, or near, our best.”
Individually, junior Maxwell Moldovan claimed medalist honors following a final round 69. He finished at 7-under-par for the three rounds. The win was long-awaited for Moldovan, who had been knocking on the door all season. This was his first victory this year and the fourth of his career. The Uniontown, Ohio native has had an All-American-type season, recording 10 Top-10 finishes in 12 events, including a seventh Top-5 finish this week. Moldovan was a tournament-best 3-under par on the par-4s and his 12 birdies were second-most among the 72 players.
“Maxwell has knocked at the door to victory all season but he demonstrated some veteran patience throughout the year knowing his time would come he’s playing as good as anyone in the country right now and I’m so thrilled for him to get his first win of the season here at regionals,” Moseley said.
Neal Shipley had a great week as he notched his second Top-15 finish of the season. He helped keep the Buckeyes in range through the first two rounds with his 72-69 start. Despite a 76 on Wednesday, Shipley finished in a tie for 13th at 1-over par.
Junior Adam Wallin saved his best for last as he made five birdies and posted a final round 3-under 69. That came after a couple of tough rounds of 77 over the first two days. Wallin finished in a tie with teammate JonErik Alford at 7-over par. Alford also had his best round of the tournament on Wednesday, carding a 1-under 71. After an up-and-down first couple of days, Alford made two birdies and 15 pars in his rounds on Wednesday.
Jackson Chandler joined the group with his best round on Wednesday, finishing with a 4-over 76.
The Buckeyes have advanced and will be one of 30 teams at the NCAA Championship in just over a week at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz. The first round is set to begin on Friday, May 26.