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Xiong, Gronlund lead Oregon Ducks men's golf team back to nationals

The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. — Tyson Alger The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

May 16--The Oregon men's golf team is heading back to nationals.

A couple weeks after finishing 11th at the Pac-12 Championships, the Ducks surged in the final round of the NCAA Stockton Regional to finish fifth, claiming the final bid for the May 25-30 nationals at Karsten Creek Colf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Ducks started Wednesday's final round tied for sixth and three strokes behind No. 5 TCU. They finished in fifth, with a comfortable five-stroke lead over LSU following a team 280 (eight under) -- the second-best team round of the day behind Stanford's 11-under.

It comes as no surprise that sophomore Norman Xiong had a lot to do with Oregon's advancement. Xiong, the No. 4 amateur player in the world, shot a six-under 66 to claim the tournament's individual title, overcoming a one-stroke deficit entering the final round to beat Stanford's Brandon Wu by a stroke, finishing at 15-under.

Xiong wasn't the only hot hand for the Ducks, however. A day after no counting towards Oregon's team score, Ryan Gronlund roared back to card his own 66 on the day, blistering The Reserve with a seven-under on the back nine.

Gronlund's round helped propel the Ducks to the NCAA Championships for a fifth straight season. The Ducks won the national title in 2016 and finished second in 2017.

-- Tyson Alger

talger@oregonian.com

@tysonalger

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