Hole in one lifts Vandalia Butler grad to best NCAA championships finish of career

Austin Greaser ties for 11th as North Carolina earns top seed in team competition

Credit: Julio Cortez

Credit: Julio Cortez

Vandalia native Austin Greaser tied for 11th at the NCAA golf championships on Monday at Grayhawk Golf Course in Scottsdale, Ariz., thanks in part to a final-round 66, which included a hole in one.

Greaser, a 2019 graduate of Vandalia Butler High School who’s now senior at the University of North Carolina, used an 8 iron to ace the par-3 184-yard fifth hole. It was the first ace by a Tar Heels golfer since Greaser’s hole in one at Olympia Fields in Illinois in September 2021.

Greaser shot even-par 280 (71-74-69-66) in the tournament. He finished 25th last year and tied for 71st in 2021. His final-round score tied for the second-lowest round by a Tar Heels golfer in the NCAA championships.

North Carolina finished first in the team standings after stroke play and will play No. 8 seed Arizona State in the quarterfinals Tuesday morning. Eight teams advanced. The four winners in the first round will play in the semifinals on Tuesday afternoon.

North Carolina has tied for fifth the last two seasons. It seeks its first national championship.

Although Greaser is a senior, he has one more year of eligibility because the 2020-21 season didn’t count against anyone’s eligibility. He has already decided to return for a fifth season at North Carolina.

“Personally, for me, it lets me play a little freer knowing it’s probably not my last one,” Greaser told GolfChannel.com this week.

Greaser will undergo surgery on his left hand this summer. That made his decision to return to college rather than turning pro easier.

“It’s been nagging me for nearly two years,” Greaser said. “It really hurts on bunker shots. I just want to be able to go down on a golf shot and know that I can hold the club the way I want to hold it, and I can be aggressive through it, and not have any pain. I’ve found remedies for it, but I’m not going to deal with this for the next 10 to 15 years, so I’m like, let’s resolve it now.”

Despite the injury, Greaser earned his third All-Atlantic Coast Conference honor this year and entered the NCAA championships ranked fifth in the PGA Tour University rankings. His stroke average of 70.97 ranked second on the team and ninth in school history.

Last year, Greaser won the prestigious Western Amateur. In 2021, he was runner-up at the U.S. Amateur.

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