All five San Diego State golfers had looks at birdie but could not make them and settled for pars. After Ball State’s Tony Lazzara made a sand save for par in the first group, Stinson’s playing partners, Tyler Merkel and McCormick Clouser, each made pars of their own in the second. Stinson, who was in the bunker in two and knocked his sand shot within a foot, tapped in for what was the only birdie.
“It’s something the guys talked about on the tee before the playoff hole. They said it was really going to come down to the shots around the green, and it definitely did,” Fleck said. “San Diego State looked like they were in much better position, but our last three guys got it done. It was awesome to watch.”
Stinson’s playoff birdie capped an impressive week at Washington State’s Palouse Ridge Golf Club. In Saturday’s final round, the senior from Anderson, Ind., matched his career best for the second day in a row with a 3-under par 69 to lead Ball State to a final-round total of 291.
Stinson opened with back-to-back birdies for the second straight day on his way to a 33 on his first nine holes and then made all pars on his second nine. He was Ball State’s top individual for the tournament in a tie for 16th at 4-under par after a career-low 54-hole total of 212.
Merkel, who overcame a late triple bogey to post a 75 on Saturday, tied for 30th individually at 1-under par. Clouser ended the tournament in a tie for 37th with a career-best 54-hole total of even-par 216. He posted a 76 in the final round.
Joe Gasser fired a final-round 72 that put him in a tie for 41st at 1-over par, and Lazzara closed with a 75 to tie for 55th at 5-over. Ball State’s regional total of 864 as a team was the program’s best in a 54-hole NCAA event.