Cardinal Set For NCAA West Regional
May 15, 2002
The Stanford men's golf team was selected to play in the 2002 NCAA West Regional May 16-18 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 54-hole tournament is being held at the University of New Mexico Championship Course and consists of 27 teams and six individuals not on those teams. The top 10 teams and the top two individuals not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, May 29-June 1. The practice round for the West Regional will be held on Wednesday, May 15 at 8 a.m. (MDT). Tee times for the first group starts at 7:12 a.m. (MDT) on Thursday through Saturday, with the final groups beginning between 1:12 and 1:21 p.m. (MDT) each day. The Cardinal is seeded No. 18 in the 27-team field, and is making their fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Regional. Stanford will be attempting to make the NCAA Championships for the second straight year. Live scoring updates will be available on www.golobos.com and www.golfstat.com.
The Tournament Field:
The NCAA West Regional consists of 27 teams, 18 of which are ranked in the top-50 of the Golfweek poll. Six individuals were also invited from schools not invited to the tournament. The field includes (ranking): Texas (5), USC (7), Washington (13), Fresno State (14), Pepperdine (19), Arizona (22), Minnesota (23), New Mexico (24), San Diego State (26), Washington State (27), Oregon (29), UNLV (35), UCLA (39), Arizona State (44), Nevada (46), Texas Tech (47), Stanford (48), BYU (52), Ohio State (58), UC Irvine (60), California (67), Pacific (68), Colorado State (80), Illinois State (105), Detroit (185), IUPUI (176) and Central Connecticut State (213). The following individuals will compete: Chris Baryla (UTEP), Ben Leetsma (Air Force), David Yarnes (Oregon State), Brandon Hillpot (UC Riverside), Mike Urbatchka (Wyoming) and Eric Billinger (Denver).
The NCAA West Regional will be played at the University of New Mexico Championship Course. The par-72 course measures 7,368 yards and has a course rating of 134 and a slope of 74.3.
Stanford's fivesome for the NCAA West Regional consists of: senior Philip Rowe, junior Jim Seki, sophomore Blake Mastalir, junior Ron Won and freshman Kevin Blue. Rowe has seven top-10 finishes and leads the Cardinal with a 71.5 stroke average. 2002 Pacific-10 Individual Champion, Seki has three top-10 finishes with a 73.0 average. Mastalir (73.2), Won (74.0) and Blue (72.9) have tallied 10 top-25 finishes in Stanford's 11 tournaments.
Senior Philip Rowe and junior Jim Seki were named to the Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf First Team. Seki used a pair of birdies over the final two holes at the Pac-10 Championships to claim top medalist honors. The Honolulu, Hawai'i, native carded a four round total of 284 (66-72-72-74) at the Trysting Tree Golf Club. Rowe recorded a one-over 73 in the final round of the conference championships to tie USC's Kevin Stadler for second place with a total of 285 (72-71-69-73).
As a team, Stanford has placed in the top-10 in seven of its 11 tournaments. The Cardinal took second in their last two events, hosting the U.S. Intercollegiate and at the Pac-10 Championships. Stanford also tied for second at the Fresno State Lexus Classic and The Nelson Invitational in the fall. Three different Cardinal have placed in the top-10 individually, with Philip Rowe leading the way with seven. Jim Seki has three top-10 finishes, while Ron Won finished third in the Fresno Lexus Classic.
Playing Well At The Right Time:
The Cardinal struggled a bit in their first two tournaments in the month of April. Stanford finished 14th at the Western Intercollegiate and 13th at the ASU Savane/Thunderbird Invitational. The Cardinal then rebounded on their home course to place second at the U.S. Intercollegiate with a 858 (288-284-286). Four days later, Stanford used rounds of 354, 366, 363 and 373 (1445) to take second place at the Pac-10 Championships. In the last two tournaments, the Cardinal have taken the individual title. Philip Rowe won the U.S. Intercollegiate with a 205 (64-72-69), including a first round score of 64 that was one stroke from tying the Stanford Golf Course record. Jim Seki continued Stanford's streak with a first place finish at the conference tournament. In both events, the Cardinal had three athletes place in the top-25. Blake Mastalir (t17) and Ron Won (t23) each finished in the top-25 at the Intercollegiate, while Rowe (t2) and Mastalir (t11) played well at the Pac-10 Championships.
Last Meet At Pac-10 Championships:
After sharing the lead heading into the final round at the conference tournament, Stanford had to settle for second place, as USC pulled ahead to defend its championship. The Cardinal edged out Oregon State for second by two strokes after recording a 373 in the final round to finish the 72-hole tournament with a 1456. Jim Seki won the Pac-10 individual title with a four-under 284 (66-72-72-74), while Philip Rowe finished one shot back at 285 (72-71-69-73) to tie for second place. Blake Mastalir also had a good showing for the Cardinal, tying for 11th with a 290 (67-73-74-76). Ron Won used a final round of 73 to total a 299 (78-72-76-73) to place 39th. Kevin Blue (309) and Pat Phillips (310) tied for 53rd and 55th, respectively.
Last Year At The West Regional:
Stanford tied Oregon State and UCLA for sixth place with a three round score of 881. Philip Rowe was the Cardinal's top finisher, tying for 12th with a 216 (69-72-75). Jim Seki checked in with a four-over 220 (72-77-71) to tie for 26th. Jimmy Lee (221), Alex Aragon (226) and Eric Dahlberg (229) tied for 30th, 67th and 92nd, respectively. Arizona State won the region by 15 strokes (852), followed by Arizona (867), UC Irvine (871), Pacific (872) and South Carolina (880). Kyle Thompson of South Carolina and Arizona State's Matt Jones tied for top medalist honors with a 208. Sun Devil Jin Park carded a 211 to place third.
Head Coach Jeff Mitchell:
A former professional golfer on the PGA Tour and director of golf at Texas Tech, Jeff Mitchell is in his second season as the head men's golf coach at Stanford. Most recently, Mitchell was inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame last Fall. Mitchell previously spent the last 10 years as the head women's golf coach at Texas Tech, an in 1998, he became the golf director for both the men's and women's programs. He was named District Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1996 and the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1994 and 1996. For nine years (1976-84), Mitchell was on the PGA Tour, playing in an average of 30 tournaments a year. He won the Phoenix Open in 1980 and had a dozen top-10 finishes as well as making 111 career cuts. A 1989 graduate of Texas Tech, Mitchell earned a degree in physical education and received his teaching certification in 1990. He competed for the Red Raiders from 1974-76, picking up All-Southwest Conference honors as well as being named an honorable mention All-American.
The top 10 teams in the NCAA West Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, May 29-June 1. Stanford will be trying to qualify for the championships for the second consecutive season. Ten other teams will try to advance at two other regional sites around the country: Georgia Tech (East Regional) and Arkansas-Little Rock (South Regional).