BYU senior Patrick Fishburn spent Saturday night with his name crawling across the Golf Channel screen, saying he was tied for second place after shooting 67-72 through two rounds of the NCAA Championship.
Fishburn knew better. He already had played Thursday in what counted as his third round at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., as the NCAA accommodated BYU’s policy against Sunday activity. When his third-round 78 was applied, Fishburn dropped to a tie for 37th.
He made up some ground Sunday, though. While the Cougars were idle, Fishburn moved to a tie for 30th at 1-over-par 217 and advanced individually to Monday’s final round of stroke play.
BYU tied for 24th as a team in the school’s first appearance in the national tournament since 2006. The Cougars missed the 54-hole cut from 30 teams to 15, having shot 33 over par for three rounds (four players’ scores count in each round). The required score to advance was 18 over.
The Cougars tied for 13th place in their two rounds that were played on the traditional schedule. They were hurt by a 24-over total in what amounted to their third round, when windy conditions and firm greens made scoring more difficult and a lightning delay interrupted them as they played alone.
But the field’s scores were higher Sunday than they were Friday and Saturday, so BYU benefited somewhat from being idle. The Cougars also could have made a stronger case for being at a scheduling disadvantage if they had played better at the end of Saturday’s round, instead of fading.
BYU’s Peter Kuest double-eagled the first hole Thursday, but he eventually posted a 79 that partly dragged down the Cougars’ team score. Rhett Rasmussen led BYU with a 73 in that round; Fishburn’s 67 and 72 were BYU’s best showings in the other two rounds.
Fishburn advanced to Monday’s round as one of the top nine players from teams that missed the cut. Rasmussen (72-77-73) finished in a tie for 56th.
Duke (10 under) leads the team competition; Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer (9 under) is the individual leader. After Monday’s round, eight teams will advance to match play.