Wonder Boys Reach NCAA National Semifinals

Eighth-seeded Arkansas Tech University upset No. 1 seed Barry University by a single stroke in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Fla., on Thursday morning.

With the win, head coach Luke Calcatera and the Wonder Boys became one of the final four teams with a chance to win the 2017 NCAA Division II national title in men’s golf.

Arkansas Tech’s most successful NCAA postseason run in men’s golf ended later in the day on Thursday in the semifinal round of match play when Lynn University earned a narrow victory over the Wonder Boys by winning 3-of-5 individual matches.

ATU was represented at the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships by senior Austin Smith of Russellville, junior Luke Cornett of Drasco, junior Putter Srinoon of Bangkok, Thailand, freshman Jonathan Echberg of Skanderborg, Denmark, and freshman Ryan Spurlock of Little Rock.

Tech’s journey to the national semifinals was one filled with grit and determination.

ATU qualified for the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships by finishing fourth in the NCAA Division II Central/Midwest Regional May 8-10 at Awarii Dunes Golf Course in Axtell, Neb.

Three Wonder Boys — Srinoon, Echberg and Spurlock — fired rounds in the 60s during the last day of competition to propel Tech to the final NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships berth from the regional.

Arkansas Tech finished with a 54-hole team total of 840, three strokes in front of Grand Valley State University in the race for the final spot in Kissimmee.

The national finals began Monday, May 22, through Wednesday, May 24, with 54 holes of stroke play competition. Only the top eight teams in stroke play would keep their national title hopes alive by advancing to the match play portion of the championships.

Arkansas Tech was 18th among a field of 20 teams after it posted an opening-round team score of 299. A second-round 293 lifted the Wonder Boys three positions to a share of 15th place, but they were still outside the cut line entering the final round of stroke play.

ATU kept its season alive with a score of 289 on Wednesday, May 24, the best final-round total among the 20-team field. The Wonder Boys edged out the University of North Alabama by a single stroke — 881 to 882 — to advance to match play.

Smith, a senior from Russellville, made a birdie on the final hole of stroke play to seal Tech’s berth in the top eight.

The Wonder Boys’ previous best finish in NCAA men’s golf postseason play came in 1998 when they finished 12th in the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships.

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