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Odom, Garren lead teams to NCAA golf finals

A pair of collegiate golf coaches with local ties are headed to the NCAA Division I national finals which will be held May 26-31 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

The top five teams and the top individual not on those teams from each of the six regional sites — Austin, TX; Baton Rouge, LA; College Grove, TN; Sammamish, WA; Stanford, CA; and West Lafayette, IN advanced to the national finals.

Kennesaw State advanced from the College Grove, TN regional along with Central Florida, Clemson, Lipscomb, and Vanderbilt. The KSU Owls are coached by Cartersville native, Bryant Odom.

Odom, an All-American as a player and member of a national championship team at the University of Georgia, took over as head coach at Kennesaw State in 2015 after a stint at Western Carolina.

Central Florida entered the final day at College Grove tied for second at four under and eight shots back of Vanderbilt. The Knights rallied, however, for a 3-over 291 on Wednesday while Vanderbilt struggled for a 13-over 301 to finish tied with Kennesaw State and Clemson at one over for the tournament. Lipscomb finished in the fifth spot with a 5-over 869 to advance to the championship.

The Oklahoma Sooners also earned a spot in Sugar Grove. Oklahoma qualified out of the Stanford University regional along with the host Cardinal, Baylor, North Carolina, and Pepperdine.

Another Cartersville native, Jim Garren, is the men’s assistant coach at Oklahoma. Garren played golf collegiately at Wallace State CC before graduating from Kennesaw State. He has served as a men's golf assistant at Southern Mississippi and New Mexico before arriving in Norman in 2014. Ryan Hybl, another Georgia native, is the head coach at Oklahoma.

Top-seeded Stanford rallied to earn a share of the Stanford Regional Championships crown with Baylor, as that 54-hole finals qualifying event concluded Wednesday at Stanford Golf Course.

Pepperdine (-5), Oklahoma (-3) and North Carolina (+3) also advanced. Individual Travis Trace (-2) of North Florida also earned a bid to the national finale.

Oklahoma's Brad Dalke (-12) took home medalist honors, with Baylor's Cooper Dossey (-9) claiming second. Stanford's Maverick McNealy (-8) was third in his final home appearance.

Finals play consists of three days of stroke play on Friday, May 26 through Sunday, May 28 (54 holes), after which the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team will be determined. That is followed by a final day of 18 holes of stroke play on Monday, May 29 to determine the top eight teams that will advance to match play as well as the 72-hole individual champion. The team national champion will be determined by a match-play format that will consist of quarterfinals and semifinals conducted on Tuesday, May 30, followed by finals on Wednesday, May 31.

The Golf Channel will have television coverage of the Men's Championship May 29-31.

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