Junior Sam Smith birdied three of his final five holes to provide Midwestern State with a late surge in Wednesday afternoon's final round of the NCAA Division II Midwest/South Central Regional at the Par-72, 7,112-yard Jefferson Country Club in Jefferson City, Mo.
That was just enough to launch the Mustangs into the upper half of the team leader board as MSU closed the season firing rounds of 302, 292 and 301 for a total of 895 (+31) to fall 11 strokes shy of qualifying for the NCAA Division II Championships set for May 15-18 at the Cardinal Club in Simpsonville, Ky.
Super Region champ Central Missouri (864/E) along with Washburn (876/+12), Central Oklahoma (877/+13), Indianapolis (880/+16) and St. Edward's (884/+20) earned the right to move on to national play as well as top two individual qualifiers including former Holliday High School standout Trey Lawson of Cameron and Ferris State's Kyle Wittenbach. Each fired matching three-round even-Par totals of 216.
Central Oklahoma's Josh Creel claimed top individual medalist honors carding rounds of 72, 68 and 71 on his way to a 5-under total of 211.
Midwestern came into the final round in position to challenge for its first national berth after firing a 292 to stand two strokes out of fifth place, but the Mustangs recorded a final round 301 as the teams recording the five top scores on the final moved on.
MSU struggled to a +9 showing over its first nine holes Wednesday before closing strong at a +2 clip on the final nine but it wasn't enough to extend its exceptional season.
Freshman Derek Oland led the way with a 2-over 74 to finish the tournament tied for 26th with a three-round total of 221 (+5) while sophomore Jeremy LeGuen battled to post a third-round 75.
Smith and junior Raine Copeland closed out the Mustangs' countable scores with matching totals of 76 while senior Trevor Arianna notched an 81.
Smith finished tied 36th with a total of 225 (+9) and Copeland tied for 54th with a 228 (+12) while LeGuen (229/+13) finished 62nd and Arianna (230/+14) was 71st.