North Carolina State's Hill wins NCAA national championship
Friday, May 29, 2009
With just eight holes remaining in the race for medalist at the NCAA Division I men's golf championship, North Carolina State's Matt Hill trailed by two strokes.
Instead of panic, it was time to take control.
Hill made three birdies down the stretch and then played keepaway with the lead to capture the top individual prize Thursday at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
"I'm pretty pumped up, that's for sure, and a little bit relieved at the same time," Hill said after shooting his third consecutive 2-under 69 to finish at 6-under 207.
The Canadian started the day tied for the lead with Georgia's Russell Henley, who lapsed to a 75 to finish at 213. Starting on the 10th hole, Hill played the first 10 holes in even par and by that point trailed TCU's Tom Hoge by two shots.
Clemson junior Kyle Stanley, who matched the day's low round with a 66, was second by two strokes. He got a close look at Hill's play.
"You have to tip your hat to Matt. I played with him all three days and he played some incredible golf," Stanley said. "Obviously, he's used to winning. And he played great."
Hill, who finished the season with eight wins, picked up the pace. The sophomore from Bright's Grove, Ontario -- also PGA Tour star Mike Weir's hometown -- birdied holes No. 2 and 5 to regain the lead while those around him were falling victim to the wet conditions.
Hill bogeyed the par-4 seventh hole, but all but locked up the win with a birdie at the par-5 eighth.
Vijay Singh stopped playing at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, when Annika Sorenstam showed up in 2003. He's finally back -- and among the leaders.
Singh shot a 6-under 64 on Thursday, leaving him a stroke behind Woody Austin, Tim Clark and Steve Stricker after the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
Singh played the event all but once from 1996 to 2002. He was scheduled to return in 2003, then withdrew after making comments critical of the decision to allow a woman into the field. The gallery mocked his absence that week, but folks seemed to have forgiven and forgotten on Thursday.
-- The Associated Press