Big South Golfer of the Year Vaita Guillaume of Campbell University won a playoff on the first hole Saturday in the NCAA Greensboro Regional and earned a berth in the NCAA Championship at Pacific Palisades, Calif. Guillaume (70-71-72) finished in a 3-way tie for individual medalist honors at 3-under-par 213 with Robert Karlsson of Liberty (70-69-74-213) and Matt Schovee of SMU (67-70-76-213).
Guillaume made par on the first play-off hole, while Schovee bogeyed the par-4, 450-yard 10th hole. The playoff was necessary to determine the individual berth to the NCAA finals, which will take place May 29-June 3. Karlsson did not compete in the playoff, as he had already secured his tee time at Riviera by leading Liberty to the regional team title.
Blayne Barber of Auburn finished fourth (73-68-73-214), while Dominic Bozzelli (76-70-70-216) of Auburn and J.D. Tomlinson of Florida (73-71-72-216) tied for fifth. Only four golfers in the 75-man field finished in red numbers on the par-72, 7271-yard Grandover East Course.
Guillaume claimed his school-record fifth tournament of the year and became the first player in CU men's golf history to advance to the NCAA Championship event. He is also the second player in Big South Conference history to win a Regional, joining former Coastal Carolina All-American Dustin Johnson, who won the 2005 NCAA East Regional.
Playing in his third NCAA regional, Guillaume had two birdies and 14 pars in Saturday's final round. Guillaume also advanced to the 2009 regional round in his freshman season after the Camels won the Atlantic Sun Conference team title. Last year, he received an individual berth along with teammate Matt Moot to the Virginia Tech regional.
In addition to Saturday's triumph, Guillaume won top individual honors this year at the Georgetown Intercollegiate, Kiawah Classic, Bash at the Beach and the Wofford Coca-Cola Invitational.
The Big South's four other individual competitors in the postseason concluded play Saturday at the 2012 NCAA Athens Men's Golf Regional, played at the 7,253-yard, par 71 University of Georgia Golf Course.
Coastal Carolina junior Sebastian Soderberg carded a 1-over 72 Saturday and finished in 14th with a 54-hole total of 214. He was the Conference's top finisher in that event. Soderberg's season is complete as he was the fifth-best individual not on a team to advance.
In the final round Saturday, Soderberg began on the 10th hole and recorded a bogey. However, on the par five 12th hole, he drained a 16-foot putt for birdie. Then, on the par four 14th, he crushed a drive, hit his approach to three feet and sank the birdie putt to get to 1-under both for the day and for the tournament. On the par three 16th, a hole he birdied in round two, Soderberg found the water Saturday and suffered a double bogey. He ended his first nine with a birdie on the 488-yard par 4 18th thanks to sinking a 20-foot putt. The junior had tallied bogeys on the 18th in the first two rounds.
Soderberg began his back nine with a nice par save. He missed the green on his approach but chipped from off the green to two feet and tapped in a par-saving putt. Soderberg suffered bogeys on holes two and five, his 11th and 14th holes, but limited the damage thanks to a par saving putts on three and four. For the third day in a row, he carded a birdie on the 556-yard, par five 7th hole. His second shot was 25 yards right of the green. He knocked his ship to within six feet and sank the birdie putt. He then finished the Regional with pars.
Soderberg opened the event with a 3-under 68 and posted a 3-over 74 on Friday. He was in a tie for fifth after 18 holes and was tied for 10th after 36.
Winthrop junior Kamito Hirai fired a 4-over par 75 on Saturday in the final round of the Athens Regional and finished with a 54-hole total of 219 (76-68-75) over the hilly terrain of the 7,253-yard layout. He entered the day at 2-over after 36 holes and was tied for 26th.
He was just the second Winthrop golfer to qualify for the regional and his finish was 30 places better than Matt Johnson's 59th place performance in 2004 at Yale University.
Meanwhile, it was a rough day on the links for Charleston Southern teammates Jacobo Pastor and David Denlinger, as the two placed 45th and 60th, respectively.
Pastor, who teed off of the tenth hole for the second day in a row, recorded a bogey on his first hole before bogeying holes 11 and 12. He shot a two on hole 13 for his first birdie of the day, but couldn't recover and finished the back nine five over. He fared better on the front nine, recording an eagle on hole seven to finish two over. Pastor would card a 78 on the day to finish seven over par on the day, shooting 74-69-78-221 to finish eight over in the tournament.
Like his teammate, Denlinger also recorded a double bogey on his first hole of the day. He would get back on track with a birdie on hole 17 to finish three over on the front nine. He mixed a few bogeys in with a birdie on the fourth hole to finish four over on the front nine and seven over on the day with a 78. Denlinger, who will return to CSU for his senior season in 2012-13, carded a total score of 78-69-78-225 for 12 over par.