May 15, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford opens its drive for a ninth national championship at the NCAA Regionals, which will be held at Stanford Golf Course beginning on Thursday.
The field will tee off at 8 a.m. from holes No. 1 and 10 on Thursday and Friday and at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Admission is free.
The low five teams from this 13-team Stanford Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships, to be held at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, May 29-June 3.
California, which won its first-ever Pac-12 championship earlier this month, is seeded first in the regional, followed by Stanford, San Diego State, Central Florida and LSU. Rounding out the field are (in order of seeding) UAB, Wichita State, Tennessee, Oregon State, Southeastern Louisiana, San Francisco, San Jose State and UC Davis.
Cal (No. 2), Stanford (No. 8), San Diego State (No. 14), Central Florida (No. 22), LSU (No. 25), UAB (No. 37) and Wichita State (No. 38) are ranked among the top-40 nationally in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin ratings.
In addition to Cal, San Diego State (Mountain West), Wichita State (Missouri Valley), San Jose State (Western Athletic) and UC Davis (Big West) won its respective conference championships this spring.
Ten individual competitors -- Zac Blair and Justin Keiley of BYU, Justin Shinn and Zachary Fullerton of New Mexico State, Josh Anderson and Johnny MacArthur of Pepperdine, Alex Edfort of Pacific, Allan Jun of UC Irvine, Mason Carper of Utah Valley State and Jarred Bossio of Idaho -- are also included in the field, with the low individual earning a spot in the NCAA Championship field.
Stanford will look to regain some momentum following a sixth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships, which were held earlier this month in Corvallis, Ore.
Knowles Family Director of Golf Conrad Ray is not taking anything for granted this week, even though Stanford Golf Course provides a certain degree of comfort for his team.
"Playing on your home course is both good and bad," said Ray. "It's good in the sense that the guys are very familiar with the course and can manage expectations. But you don't want to fall into the trap of thinking you have to shoot a certain score rather than taking each hole one at a time."
Stanford is expected to start a lineup consisting of (in order) freshman Patrick Rodgers, junior Andrew Yun, sophomore Cameron Wilson, freshman Patrick Grimes and senior David Chung.
Rodgers and Yun are at the top of their games, as both have notched top-10 finishes in each of their last three outings.
Yun is coming off a win at the Pac-12 Championships, where he posted scores of 68-70-69-68 at the Trysting Tree Golf Club to become Stanford's first conference individual champion since Jim Seki in 2002.
The two-time first-team All-Pac-12 performer also tied for fourth at the Western Intercollegiate and tied for 10th at the U.S. Intercollegiate event held at Stanford in late March.
A model of consistency, Yun has six top-10 finishes in 10 events this season and 13 top-10's in his last 21 starts dating back to last season. He is currently ranked 10th in the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings and 12th in Golfweek's/Sagarin ratings.
Rodgers, one of three finalists for the Hogan Award given annually to the nation's top collegiate golfer, has recorded top-10's in all but two of his 10 starts this season, including a pair of wins at the Fighting Illini Invitational and the Western Intercollegiate.
He is ranked third in both the Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings and Golfweek/Sagarin ratings and has shot par or better in 22 of his 31 rounds this year.
While Rodgers and Yun have been rocks at the top of the lineup, the Cardinal hopes its depth will pass the test this week.
Wilson, a sophomore, has three top-10's this season, highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the Fighting Illini Invitational in September, when he strung together rounds of 69, 67 and 76 on a very challenging course at Olympia Fields.
He also turned in a solid performance at the Western Intercollegiate, where he fired rounds of 69-72-70 to tie for 10th. Wilson followed an opening round 76 at the Pac-12 Championships with a six-under 66 in round two, only to be disqualified in round three for signing an incorrect scorecard. He managed to shoot an even par 72 in the final round.
Grimes, a product of The Menlo School, will get his first taste of NCAA tournament competition, while Chung's playing pedigree make him a threat in every tournament.
This year marks the third time Stanford Golf Course has hosted an NCAA men's golf regional (1997 and 2005)...in 2005, the 16th-seeded Cardinal shot a final round 283 to finish eighth in the field, earning a spot in the NCAA Championships...freshman Rob Grube earned medalist honors, firing a final round 65...Stanford did not advance to the NCAA Championships last season, finishing sixth at the Central Regional in South Bend, Ind....Stanford has six top-five finishes this season but just one win at the Fighting Illini Invitational....top-seeded Cal has won a school-record five tournaments this season and has finished in the top five in all 12 of its tournaments...other regional sites are Athens, Ga., (University of Georgia Golf Course), Greensboro, N.C., (Grandover Resort-East Course), Ann Arbor, Mich., (University of Michigan Golf Course), Norman, Okla., (Jimmie Auston OU Golf Club) and Bowling Green, Ky. (The Club at Olde Stone).