Chattanooga senior Chris Robb has a broad smile on his face, with good reason.
On the final day of the 2014 NCAA Individual Championship in Hutchinson, Kansas, Robb played his absolute best.
The Aberdeenshire, Scotland native fired a 64 (-6), and birdied five of the last six holes. Incredibly, he jumped over 60 players to tie for 15th.
That's significant because the top 15 earn the Golf Coaches Association of America All-American honors.
The tall, lean Scot didn't know he had reached that pinnacle until he landed back in Chattanooga. "We were searching over and over again and coach (Mark Guhne) actually got told by the airplane staff to turn his laptop off because he was refreshing it and we had to take off and then when I landed, I got a text from Jim (Jim Horten-Asst. Director Athletics Communications) that said I was 15th and an All-American, it was pretty cool," Robb said.
Robb said he had always wanted to be an All-American in college golf. And he achieved that in his final round of play. While playing, he didn't get tangled up in what his score was. "My goal for the day was just to stay one shot at a time and see what happened at the end. Things were going well, but they weren't going incredibly well until the last five holes, no last six holes. Five under through the last six, but just staying patient and keep going until the end," Robb noted. "And then I added it all up for 64, it was pretty cool, cool finish."
Robb's coach Mark Guhne and volunteer assistant David McKenna walked with Robb as he navigated the Prairie Dunes Country Club course. Guhne said he had to control his own excitement to keep from distracting his star player. Guhne said he had to "really back up and slow down." Although he was keeping track of the scores on his phone, "I never told him where he was or how he was doing."
Robb and those close to him knew he was in a zone. Guhne knew he was edging closer to All-American honors. "When I looked, I knew he had to birdie the last two holes to have a chance and he hit a really good approach shot in there about 15 feet."
He did it again on the next hole."You just keep going until you finish. I guess that's the ideal mindset, to not really know what you are, what your score is and just keep trying to hit the best shots and keep trying to make the putts and just keep going and going and going. And then, see what it is at the end."
Robb has reached the end, at least in Chattanooga.
He's flying back to Scotland tomorrow and finished packing his bags today. He described himself as a bit of a "hoarder" and had a hard time parting with all of the items he acquired while playing for the Mocs. He ended up giving his television away and much of his clothing to Goodwill. But he will hold on to the "gear" with the "C" on it. Coach Guhne said with a smile, "The great thing about it is he's proud of it. I know he'll continue to wear it until he's worn it out."
He'll have plenty of chances. Robb has a relatively busy summer planned. Up next - the British Amateur, the St. Andrews Links Trophy, European Amateur, Open Qualifying and Scottish Amateur match play.
Then, he plans to turn pro. "I always wanted to come to college and I always wanted to turn pro afterwards, so far the timeline's giong the way I wanted it to go. We'll see how the summer turns out."
It will start with a smile on his face.
by John Madewell
Photo Ctsy:(Jim Horten) gomocs.com