Illinois & G. Tech's Steelman Lead NCAAs; Hitchner's 65 Helps Moved Pepperdine up to No. 2

May 28, 2023 | 5 min.
By Michael R Fermoyle

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The stars were out at the NCAA Championships on Sunday. Out of contention, that is. 

Texas Tech's Ludvig Aberg, a senior from Sweden who has been the best player in college golf for pretty much the entire 2022-23 season -- and is No. 1 in the PGA Tour University Rankings -- shot a 1-under-par 69 for the second time in three days. But he is at 1-over 211 for 54 holes at Grayhawk Golf Club. That has him 10 strokes behind the leader, Ross Steelman, of Georgia Tech, going into Monday's final round. Defending champion Gordon Sargent, a sophomore at Vanderbilt, is another six back at 217, tied for 55th, after a second straight 73. And Sam Bennett, the fifth-year senior at Texas A&M who won the U.S. Amateur last summer and was one of the stars of this year's Masters, is at 220 after a third-round 71. He's tied for 81st and would have missed the cut if the Aggies weren't in the top 15 in the team standings.

Steelman is from Columbia, Missouri. He won the Missouri state high school championship and started his college career close to home at the University of Missouri. After two years with the Tigers, he transferred to Georgia Tech. Last year, he played in the NCAA tournament, but it didn't go well, and he ended up tied for 76th. Things have gone much better this year, beginning with a 64 in the opening round, and the fifth-year senior followed that with a 69 and a 68. He leads Neal Shipley of Ohio State and North Carolina's Dylan Menante by four. Shipley and Menante both arrived at 205 by shooting 67 on Sunday. 

There is a three-way tie for fourth at 206 -- A. Dumont de Chassar of Illinois, Barclay Brown of Stanford and Fred Biondi of Florida. Chassar's Illini teammate Jackson Buchanan is alone in seventh at 207, having posted a 68 on Sunday, and yet another Illinois golfer, Tommy Kuhl, is part of a five-way tie for eighth at 208. He shot 67.

Illinois put together a team score of 276 on Sunday and took over first place in the team standings with an aggregate of 834 (minus 6). Pepperdine is second at 837, thanks in no small part to Derek Hitchner, the former Minnesota state high school champ from Blake who had the low score of the day, a 65. The 2021 Minnesota State Amateur winner -- and MGA Player of the Year for 2021 -- moved up into that tie for 24th that Aberg is a part of. Florida is third, two behind Pepperdine at 839. North Carolina is fourth at 841, and Georgia Tech is fifth in what looks like a five-team race for the No. 1 seed in match play at 842. Stanford is another seven back at 849. 

Texas, which won the team title last year, was 19th at 872 and missed the cut.

The indiividual medalist will be determined on Monday, and the top eight teams will advance to the match-play portion of the tournament, which will begin Tuesday morning. 

NCAA Division I Men's Championships

At Grayhawk Golf Club

Par 70, 7,289 yards

Scottsdale, Ariz. 

Third-round results 

1. Illinois                    285-273-276--834

2. Pepperdine           281-287-269--837

3. Florida                    283-278-278--839

4. North Carolina       282-284-275--841

5. Georgia Tech         280-286-276--842

6. Stanford                 290-286-274--859

7. Arizona State          291-281-279---851

T8. Vanderbilt             282-288-283--853

T8. Florida State.       284-287-282--853

10. Virginia                 290-281-283--854

11. Auburn                  288-286-282--856

12. Texas A&M           289-285-283--857

13. Alabama.               290-282-289--861

14. Georgia                 285-291-288---864

T15. Ohio State           287-295-284--866

T15. Texas Tech         282-295-289--866 

Did not make cut

T25. New Mexico       293-296-291--880 


1. Ross Steelman, Georgia Tech          64-69-68--201

T2. Neal Shipley, Ohio State                 70-68-67--205

T2. Dylan Menante, North Carolina       68-70-67--205

T4. Barclay Brown, Stanford.                 68-71-67--206

T4. Fred Biondi, Florida                        69-68-69--206

T4. A. Dumont de Chassar, Illiinois      68-68-70--206

7. Jackson Buchanan, Illinois              71-68-68--207

T8. Nick Dunlap, Alabama                    74-68-66--208

T8. Tommy Kuhl, Illinois                        72-69-67--208

T8. Luke Gofford, Pepperdine.            70-71-67--208

T8. Ben James, Virginia                       71-68-69--208

T8. Daniel Rodrigues, Texas A&M.       70-66-72--208

T19. Derek Hitchner, Pepperdine       73-73-65--211

T19. Ludvig Aberg, Texas Tech             69-73-69--211 (No. 1 iin PGA Tour University Rankings) 

T55. Gordon Sargent, Vanderbilt          71-73-73--217 (defending champion)

T81. Sam Bennett, Texas A&M             75-74-71--220 (2022 U.S. Amateur, low amateur in 2023 Masters)

T111. Carson Herron, New Mexico   77-74-72--223

Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website,, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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