Men's Golf Ready for NCAA Championships
May 23, 2003
WHAT'S ON TAP: Oregon travels to Stillwater, Okla., for the 2003 NCAA Championships. The tournament will be held May 27-30 at the 7,301-yard, par-72 Karsten Creek Golf Course. The Ducks will be making their first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 1999. Overall, it's the school's 21st time at the NCAA Championships.
OREGON PROBABLE STARTERS
John Ellis Sr.-2V San Jose, Calif. (Gavilan CC) 71.7Chris Carnahan Sr.-3V Albany, Ore. (West Albany HS) 73.3Mike Sica Jr.-2V San Francisco, Calif. (St. Ignatius HS) 74.5Gregg LaVoie Fr.-HS Pasco, Wash. (Pasco HS) 74.2Kyle Johnson Fr.-RS North Bend, Ore. (North Bend HS) 75.2
OREGON IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: This is Oregon's 20th appearance in the NCAA Championships, but it's the Ducks' first since 1999. Oregon first appeared in the Championships in 1947 when the Ducks finished 17th. The University's highest finish was a fourth-place showing in 1959. Oregon also had top 10 finishes in 1977 (seventh) and 1976 (10th).
No current Duck has ever played in the NCAA Championships. Oregon's two connections to its last appearance in 1999 are Chris Carnahan and Gregg LaVoie. Carnahan was a freshman and redshirting on that 1999 team that was led by current PGA Tour rising star Ben Crane (the 2003 BellSouth champion). LaVoie's older brother, Ryan, was a member of that team who finished tied for 23rd individually at the NCAA Championships.
THE FIELD: Six Pac-10 teams and 24 of the nation's top 30 (according to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings) will be in competition at Karsten Creek. Here is the field, from East to West (Golfweek/Sagarin rankings in parenthesis):
EAST: Clemson (1), Georgia Tech (13), Florida (2), Tennessee (19), Duke (25), Wake Forest (3), Augusta State (7), South Carolina (24), Vanderbilt (32) and Auburn (14).
CENTRAL: Oklahoma State (5), Illinois (20), North Carolina State (18), North Carolina (10), Texas (4), Kentucky (41), Southern Methodist (33), Minnesota (15), Arkansas (23) and Wichita State (54).
WEST: UCLA (19), Arizona (6), Nevada-Las Vegas (8), Georgia (12), Arizona State (16), New Mexico (17), Washington (22), USC (27), Oregon (40) and San Diego State (31).
Oregon received the No. 26 seed and will be paired with No 27 Vanderbilt (East) and No. 25 Arkansas (Central) for the first two rounds. The Commodores are a familiar foe for the Ducks; the two teams were paired for the first two rounds of the Oregon Duck Invitational in March. In round one, the Ducks will tee off No. 10 at 8:03 a.m. CDT. For the second round, Oregon will go off No. 1 at 1:03 p.m. CDT. Teams will be reseeded for the final two rounds.
SEEDY SEEDINGS: This year, not one, but two No. 18 regional seeds advanced to the NCAA Championships -- Oregon out of the West and Wichita State from the Central. In the latest Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, the 40th-ranked Ducks were one of three teams lower than No. 33 to move on to Stillwater. Kentucky (41) and Wichita State (54) were the other two.
RESULTS: Live scoring will be available at www.golfstat.com. Additional links can be found on www.okstate.com and www.ncaasports.com. Results and quotes from Oregon players and coaches will be posted on www.goducks.com.
FRESH FACES: This season, Oregon freshmen Gregg LaVoie, Kyle Johnson, Chirs Dukeminier and Justin St. Clair have accounted for 77 of Oregon's 219 rounds (35.1 percent). Only the seniors (John Ellis and Chris Carnahan) have played more rounds as a class (80). By comparison, no freshmen played for the Ducks last season, and in 2000-01, freshmen played just 28 rounds.
The 77 freshmen rounds is the highest for Oregon since 1995-96 when Adrian Burtner, Ben Crane, Derek Croskrey and Andrew Tredway tallied 105 rounds. That may be a good sign for the future of the program; those four freshmen later led the Ducks to back-to-back NCAA Championships in 1998 and 1999.
HOMEGROWN TALENT: Dating back to Peter Jacobsen and continuing with Ben Crane, the success of Oregon's golf program has always been rooted in attracting top prep players from Oregon's high school ranks. That tradition continues for the 2002-03 season as five of the 11 players on the roster are state natives, including Chris Carnahan of Albany, Jimmy White and Chris Dukeminier from Eugene, Justin St. Clair of Springfield and Kyle Johnson of North Bend.How They Got Here: Sica's Hole-in-One Helps Oregon Advance to NCAA ChampionshipsCarnahan shoots 70 as sevens come up lucky for Ducks.
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