Mocs Finish Top Five at Auburn Regional to Clinch Berth in NCAA Championships

( AUBURN, Ala.—The Chattanooga Mocs took full advantage of their first NCAA Men’s Golf Regional appearance in nine years advancing to the NCAA Championships from the Auburn University Club. The Mocs 290 (+2) gave them a 2-over 866 total which was good for third place.

Three is a key number. It’s the third time the team has advanced to the finals, fifth overall. The first came in 2009 with a third place ending in Stillwater, Okla., while the 2012 squad moved forward winning in Bowling Green, Ky.

For first-year head coach Blaine Woodruff, it’s been quite a ride since arriving in June 2022.

“It started with trying to get the right guys,” Coach Blaine Woodruff shared. “It’s great to have some guys that were already coming back like Braeden (Wear) and getting Paul (Conroy) to come back and then John (Houk) and Sam (Espinosa). Then we were able to look at the transfer portal and get Garrett (Engle) in here. Then Carson (Johnson), then Alex (Cobb) and obviously Gabe’s (Hunter) coming back too, and Nick (Etherton) stuck by his commitment.

“It was kind of roster first. Once that was set, it was all about trying to reestablish the culture here. It helps having a bunch of new guys to kind of make that transition of raising our standard of what is expected, and that’s not just results-wise, but on a day-to-day basis…what you need to do to be great.”

It was a great week to be certain. The Mocs were joined by winner No. 13 Auburn (863), No. 1 Vanderbilt (864), No. 25 Ohio State (872) and No. 24 Colorado State (874). The group’s effort today impressed Woodruff in one key facet beyond making it to the finals.

“Last night kind of kind of sealed it for me, knowing that we kind of made it culture-wise,” he added. “The guys were focused on winning today. There wasn’t talk about just finishing top 5. All of our guys had the right mindset. I knew it was going to be a battle, but I knew we were going to be there.

“Really proud of them, but the job’s not done.”

Today’s 290 was paced by Paul Conroy’s 3-under 69. John Houk added 73 with 74s by Samuel Espinosa and Braedon Wear. Garrett Engle’s 78 served as the drop score.

Houk ended up fifth overall at 4-under 212, his third top 5 in four events. His average finish since April began is 4.75. Conroy also earned a top 10 tying for seventh at 2 under (214). Engle shot 221 with Espinosa coming in with 223. Wear completed his three days at 229.

Conroy played as an individual a year ago in the Norman Regionals. He quickly recalled this time last year.

“I remember last year, when I was there with Coach (Colette) Murray, we sort of talked about, you know, how cool it would be to come back with a team,” Conroy began. “To come back and advance with the team, I never even thought it was possible last year.

“It’s just…it’s amazing.”

The Mocs take to the first tee Wednesday again at 9 a.m., Eastern Time. The familiar faces of the Tigers and Rams await. Scoring and pairings are linked above along with a comprehensive results package.

NCAA Championships – Auburn Regionals

May 15-17 (Mon-Wed) | Auburn, Ala. | 54 holes (18 per day)


3rd of 13: 283-293-290=866 (+2)

4) John Houk: 68-71-73=212 (-4)

T7) Paul Conroy: 71-74-69=214 (-2)

T23) Garrett Engle: 70-73-78=221 (+5)

T28) Samuel Espinosa: 74-75-74=223 (+7)

T55) Braedon Wear: 78-77-74=229 (+13)

Alternate: Alex Cobb


–        Fifth time advancing to finals: 1993 (Neil Connolly), 2009 (team), 2012 (team), 2014 (Chris Robb), 2023 (team).

–        2 over is the fourth-best regionals score by par and total. The record is 5 under (859) by the 2012 Bowling Green winners, while 853 (+1) in 2008 at Council Fire is top total.

–        Houk’s 212 is tied for the fourth-best regionals total by a Moc with Chris Robb (2014 Eugene). His 4 under and Conroy’s 2 under are the sixth and seventh under par totals.


University Cub | Par 72 | 7,591 yards

Top 10 Teams

1 – (13) Auburn: 292-283-288=863 (-1)

4 – (1) Vanderbilt: 294-286-284=864 (E)

2 – (48) Chattanooga: 283-293-290=866 (+2)

5 – (25) Ohio State: 294-293-285=872 (+8)

3 – (24) Colorado State: 285-293-296=874 (+10)


6 – (36) Washington: 297-293-290=880 (+16)

7 – (62) Indiana: 297-291-293=881 (+17)

8 – (12) Tennessee: 297-298-294=889 (+25)

9 – (37) TCU: 292-298-305=895 (+31)

10 – Marquette: 301-304-291=896 (+32)


Team Finishes (13 appearances)

Win (1): 2012

Advance (5): 1993 (Neil Connolly), 2009, 2012, 2014 (Chris Robb), 2023

Medalists (1)

2012: Stephan Jaeger – 70-67-66=203 (-13)

Top 10s (6)

1993: T5, Neil Connolly – 70-74-69=213

2012: 1, Stephan Jaeger – 70-67-66=203 (-13) | T3, Steven Fox – 76-64-71=211 (-5)

2014: T4, Chris Robb – 67-72-73=212 (+2)

2023: T4, John Houk – 68-71-212 (-4) | T7, Paul Conroy – 71-74-69=214 (-2)

Categories: Sports – Local Sports News, Sports – UTC Mocs