Oregon Men's Golf Grabs West's Fifth Seed for NCAA Regional
May 8, 2001
EUGENE, Ore. - The 20th-ranked University of Oregon's men's golf team was given the West's fifth seed for the NCAA Regional, which will be played May 17-19 at Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. The Ducks will tee off at 12:18 p.m. next Thursday from the first tee in a threesome that also includes Nevada-Las Vegas and Colorado State.
The top 10 teams, plus the top two individuals, advance to the NCAA Championships, May 30-June 2 at Duke University.
'We're very pleased with our seed and how we stack up against the other teams in this region,' said Oregon coach Steve Nosler. 'We're very familiar with this golf course and have proven in the past that we are able to put up good numbers at Trysting Tree. And if we play even close to the level we are capable of, we should have an excellent chance to advance to nationals.
'Golf is a very simple game. If you keep the ball in the fairway off the tee, it doesn't matter how long you are, especially at Trysting Tree because the course is not playing that long and the greens are fairly big. But if you get in that deep rough, which is about a foot high, you are looking at bogeys, double bogeys and all sorts of bad numbers. I don't think length will be as much of a factor in this tournament as accuracy, club selection and course management.'
In a format new for the 2001 championships, the West and Mountain districts send their top teams to the West Regional, while the rest of the 27-team field is filled by at-large schools selected from a national pool. Arizona State, led by Eugene native and 2000 U.S. Amateur champion Jeff Quinney, is the West District's top seed and New Mexico is the No. 1 out of the Mountain. This year, the top nine teams from the West earned automatic bids. Following ASU were USC, Arizona, Nevada-Las Vegas, Oregon, Pepperdine, Washington, California and UCLA.
The Mountain District sent five teams with Brigham Young, San Diego State, Colorado State and Fresno State qualifying behind New Mexico. South Carolina led the at-large group, followed by Wake Forest, Tennessee, Stanford, Nevada, Oregon State, Pacific, UC Irvine, Austin Peay, Oral Roberts, Weber State, Detroit and Navy. Of the 27 teams, nine are ranked in the nation's top 25, including No. 4 Arizona State, No. 6 USC, No. 10 Wake Forest, No. 12 Arizona, No. 14 BYU, No. 15 New Mexico, No. 17 South Carolina, No. 20 Oregon and No. 24 Washington.
Trysting Tree is the home course current Ducks Aaron Byers and Chris Carnahan, who are both from nearby Albany. In fact, Carnahan, a sophomore, was the medalist the last time he played Trysting Tree - the season-opening Northwest Classic last September. He took just 203 strokes in winning for the first time as a collegian and averaged just 67.7 shots per round, with a career-low of 67.
In addition to Carnahan, the rest of the Oregon contingent played quite well at the Northwest Classic. Senior Matt Genovese marked a career-best finish, tying for fifth, and fired a career-low round of 67 in the process, averaging 68.7 strokes per round (206). Byers tied for 11th, averaging a 69.3 (208). Sophomore John Ellis tied for 19th at 211 (averaging 70.3 strokes per round), while junior Brandon Harnden took 24th with a 212 (70.7). Collectively, Oregon's NCAA Regional quintet was 10 stokes under par at the Northwest Classic.
Oregon is coming off a disappointing eighth-place finish at the Pac-10 championships at Stanford April 27-29, but the Ducks won the Western Intercollegiate three weeks prior to that and have six top 10 finishes this season.
Once again, the Pac-10 sent the highest number of schools to NCAA Regional competition with all but Washington State advancing. The league's nine bids were two more than SEC or the Big XII who each had seven. The Atlantic Coast was next with six bids, while the Big Ten, WAC and Mountain West each had five.
Last year, Oregon finished tied for 13th at the regional held in Fresno, Calif., missing their third straight trip to the NCAA championship by just two strokes. This season, the Ducks are trying to make their third national appearance in four years, which would be the best span for Oregon men's golf since the Peter Jacobsen-led teams of 1975-78 made four consecutive appearances.