ALLENDALE, Mich. — Alistair Docherty stood alone early Thursday evening, under a tree, behind the 18th green at The Meadows, on the campus of Grand Valley State. Docherty, a Vancouver, Washington native who is a sophomore at Chico State, north of Sacramento, wanted to be alone. Eventually, his Wildcats teammate, senior Will Flitcroft, wandered over, but Docherty had little to say, so Flitcroft left him to himself.
Docherty was coming to terms not only with Chico State’s impending loss to defending champ Barry in the semifinals of the NCAA II national championships, but also with the departure of two of his Chico teammates.
“This one hurts a lot,” Docherty said, struggling to maintain his composure. “We have two really good guys who are leaving, Will and Ricky [Owaki], and we wanted this one for them. We’re a family and to see them go is really hard, really hard.” Flitcroft is a sophomore from Sydney, Australia and Owaki is a senior from Yorba Linda, California.
Docherty, who finished tied for fifth following the tournament’s 54 holes of stroke play, won his quarterfinal match by six strokes over Ernesto Vitienes Thursday morning as the Wildcats defeated Lynn 4-1, to advance to Thursday afternoon’s semifinals against No. 1 Barry. Docherty dropped his semifinal match, by two strokes, to West Michigan native Jared Dalga, a senior at Barry who won the 2012 Grand Valley Amateur Championship at The Meadows.
“We all know we left a lot out there,” Docherty said. “There are a lot of things I wish I would not have done. You can always regret decisions that don’t go your way, even though at the time they seem like the right thing to do.”
Barry is now scheduled to play Nova Southeastern on Friday morning in the match to determine the 2014 NCAA II national champion. “There were tougher pins this afternoon,” Docherty said. “The rough definitely seemed thicker too, because it wasn’t wet like it was this morning. When it’s wet your club will slide through it easier.
“This course is tough for everybody,” Docherty said, adding that Dalga’s extensive experience on the layout was not a factor in Thursday’s semifinal match. “It is demanding off the tee, you have to hit fairways, and around the greens your have to be careful.”
Docherty’s teammates Lee Gearhart, a sophomore from Roseville, California, and Justin Wiles, a sophomore from Klamath Falls, Oregon, are expected to return to the Wildcats’ lineup next season.