College Golfer Misses Chance at NCAA Championship After Terribly Unlucky Shot

Golf Channel

This weekend’s NCAA men’s golf championship was a doozy, with six players finishing in a tie for second place one shot behind the winner, Georgia Tech’s Hiroshi Tai. One of those players who finished tied for second was Auburn’s Jackson Koivun, who missed out on a potential playoff in excruciating fashion.

Koivun needed a birdie on the final hole to move into a tie for first and force a playoff, and his approach shot appeared to be right on the money. But in a cruel twist of fate, it was too on the money. The ball landed just in front of the hole, bounced once and hit the flagstick, causing it to carom off the green.

Koivun was able to save par from there and remain in second place, but his unlucky break denied him a chance at the championship. Just an inch or two to either direction and Koivun would have had a look at birdie to force a playoff. Even more frustrating, he could have won the tournament outright if the approach had found the bottom of the cup for an eagle.

The bad break was a somewhat sour end to what was a fantastic season for Koivun. The freshman from Chapel Hill, N.C., won the Ben Hogan Award (college golf’s version of the Heisman) and the SEC individual championship.

Koivun wasn’t the only player to come agonizingly close to a title opportunity. Virginia’s Ben James was among the group of six that tied for second place and only missed out on a potential playoff because he had been assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play during Friday’s round.

Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland writes Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, and is SI’s pro wrestling editor. Dan holds a degree in Communications and Media Studies from Fordham University.