Junior Emmet Herb had four birdies and shot two-under 70 on the final day to tie for 15th place individually out of 216 and help Tommie Men's Golf take 15th place at the 72-hole NCAA Championships in Nicholasville, Ky.
The 42-team field was cut to the low 18 scores after Wednesday, and the No. 25-ranked Toms moved up two spots Friday with a 303 team total, their best of the week.
This is St. Thomas' fourth top-15 national finish in the last five seasons.
Senior Matt Mellin had a wild ride en route to a two-over 74. He carded two eagles and four birdies, but on a tough course gave back 10 shots to par on eight other holes.
Senior Jack Ritchay also had four birdies on Friday but carded a 77 and tied for 28th place at 301. Ritchay had a team-best 15 birdies over the four rounds.
Herb's eight-over-par 296 total was just four shots out of fifth place and was the best showing by an MIAC player. Herb missed made par or birdie on 48 of his 72 holes with nine birdies, two double boyeys, 13 bogeys).
Coach Scott Proshek's lineup included just one player (Herb) with NCAA Championships experience and two seniors. St. Thomas could return a dozen players led by Herb in 2019-20.
St. Thomas Men's Golf shot 313 on Thursday and sits in 17th place heading into the final day at the 72-hole NCAA Championships in Nicholasville, Ky. The competition ends Friday.
The Tommies' 933 total is two ahead of Aurora but just seven strokes out of 14th place.
Jack Ritchay shot 77 and is tied for 22nd in a field that started with 216 players. He was two-over on his last 10 holes after some early problems.
Emmet Herb shot 78 and is tied for 30th. He also was two-over on his last 10 holes.
St. Thomas Men's Golf needed a strong round on Wednesday at the NCAA Championships in Nicholasville, Ky., if it wanted to survive the cutdown from 42 to 18 teams.
The Tommies began the day in 18th place, and their final round didn't start particularly well.
In the end, they posted their second consecutive 310 score. Then they had more than an hour to wait and see if their 620 total would be good enough, as nine teams closed out their rounds.
The numbers they watched on the scoreboard weren't promising... then turned better... then flipped again to where a tie-breaker loss suddenly seemed possible.
But when all of the rounds were finally completed, St. Thomas had survived with a tie for 17th place with Aurora (Ill.), with a two-stroke cushion over the 19th-place teams. Just six strokes separated the last two teams to make the cut and the next eight squads that missed. That included fellow MIAC team St. John's, which missed the cut at 623.
St. Thomas senior Jack Ritchay came into the week as the No. 5 player. On Wednesday he played even par over his final 13 holes - three birdies, seven pars, one bogey and one double -- to lead the way with a 75 to go with Tuesday's even-par 72. He's tied for 14th place in the field of 216 that started.
Senior Matt Mellin shot even par over his first 12 holes but finished at five-over 77 as he took a pair of double bogeys down the stretch. He opened with an 82 on Tuesday.
Emmet Herb was one over par on his front nine. He closed with a five-over 77 after his opening-day 71. Herb is tied for 20th.
St. Thomas is nine shots behind 12th-place Rutgers-Camden as it prepares for the final 36 holes.
No. 25-ranked Tommie Men's Golf sits right on the cut line in 18th place after Tuesday's 18-hole opening round at the NCAA Division III Championships in Nicholasville, Ky.
Coach Scott Proshek received two excellent individual scores from junior Emmet Herb and senior Jack Ritchay, but the Toms still sit at 310, right in the middle of the cut line which will trim the 42-team field to 18 squads for the final 36 holes.
Wednesday will be interesting: the Tommies are five shots from 14th place and just 10 from 10th place; but there are 16 teams separated by 10 shots from 15th place to 30th.
Herb started on the back nine and shot 2-over 38. He caught fire and recorded five birdies on the front side before bogeying his last hole and coming in at 71.
St. Thomas Men's Golf qualified for this seven months ago, and now it's the payoff: the May 14-17 Division III national tournament in Nicholasville, Ky.
The 42-team field will be cut by more than half after the first 36 holes by Wednesday evening.
The Tommies played the course last September in an elite fall tournament that included 14 top-25 ranked teams, and placed 15th of 18.
- St. Thomas has five top-20 national tournament team finishes in the last seven years, led by a tie for fifth in May 2016.
- The Tommies tied for 11th last May at nationals.
- Just one player is back from the Tommies' 2017-18 NCAA experience -- junior All-America Emmet Herb, the 2017-18 Conference Player of the Year. Herb just missed the top 40 at nationals last season with a 299 score over his four rounds.
- St. Thomas won just one conference team championship in a 36-year span from 1981-2016 but have won the last two championships.
- Emmet Herb has a 73.8 career average in 62 rounds. He's led the conference each of the last two seasons at 72.9 per season.
- The Tommies' 2018-19 stroke averages are Herb at 72.9; Peder Larson at 75.1; senior Matt Mellin at 75.4; Jack Ritchay at 77.7; and Miles McCarthy at 77.9
- St. Thomas comes in with the No. 25 national ranking in the Golfweek Bushnell coaches' poll.