About 21/2 hours after teeing off Wednesday, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock men's golf team had made up the 11 shots it needed to move into a qualifying spot for next week's NCAA Championship.
But for a third consecutive day, the Trojans were bitten by the back nine.
UALR shot 10-over par on Nos. 10-18 at PGA National during the third round, carding a 4-over 292 on the day to end the Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Regional in sixth place at 25-over. The Trojans topped the likes of Purdue and Notre Dame, yet finished 11 shots behind College of Charleston, which grabbed the fifth and final bid to nationals at 14-over.
Vanderbilt topped the field at 20-under, followed by Florida State, Florida and South Florida.
"We didn't have our best stuff this week but we went down swinging," UALR Coach Jake Harrington said. "We came out [hard] that front side. ... That tells you the fight our players had."
Harrington subbed out Nico Horder and slotted true freshman Archie Smith into the lineup. Although Smith ended the day at 5-over 77 with three double bogeys, he was part of a fivesome that went bogey-free over the opening six holes with nine combined birdies.
Anton Albers -- who along with Magnus Lomholt led the Trojans with a final score of 4-over 220 for the week -- birdied three of his first four holes.
Although UALR couldn't keep pace on the final nine holes, posting five double bogeys as a team, senior Marcel Rauch turned in his best round of the week. The senior had three birdies and just a lone double bogey on No. 15 to end the day at 1-under 71, tied for the Trojans' best single round in South Florida.
On a day when UALR was unable to achieve its team goal, Rauch's effort was a consolation prize -- particularly since he's the only Trojan who won't be back in the fall.
"He's been everything a coach wants in a player," Harrington said of Rauch. "For him to do that in his final college event, nothing makes me happier."