Fifth-ranked Bruins Head to Florida for NCAA East Regional

May 9, 2006

The fifth-ranked UCLA men's golf team will play in the NCAA East Regional Golf Championship, May 18-20 at the Lake Nona Golf Course in Orlando, Fla. The University of Central Florida will serve as the host institution.

The top 10 teams and two individuals not on qualifying teams from each of the three regional tournaments will advance to the NCAA Men's Golf Championship, May 31-June 3 at Crosswater Golf Club in Sunriver, Ore.

The second-seeded Bruins will join 14 other teams ranked in the nation's Top 50 and nine other conference champions in the East Regional. Top-ranked Georgia, the Southeastern Conference champion, is seeded first, followed by UCLA, ninth-ranked UNLV, 11th ranked Georgia State and No. 12 North Carolina. USC is the only other Pac-10 school competing in Orlando.

'We're really excited about traveling to Florida for the East Regional,' said UCLA Head Coach O. D. Vincent. 'Georgia is the top-ranked team in the nation and set the standard for our sport this season. We're looking forward to competing against them. In addition, Lake Nona is a sister course of Isleworth, and we played there in the Fall. We're very familiar with the area.

'The (NCAA selection) committee did an excellent job of balancing out the regions,' Vincent continued. 'I'm a huge fan of it -- all of the regionals are well-balanced.'

Arizona State, Arizona, Washington and Stanford will represent the Pac-10 in the West Regional, hosted by Arizona National and the University of Arizona.

UCLA has participated in the NCAA Regional Championship every season since 1993 and has qualified for the national championship tournament on seven occasions. Under Vincent, the Bruins won their only two regional titles in 2003 and '04. Last season, they tied for fourth.

In 2004, UCLA's Travis Johnson tied for first place at the regional championship, becoming the first UCLA golfer to win the event. Last season, freshman Kevin Chappell tied for second, and in 2003, Steve Conway placed fifth as the Bruins won their first regional crown.

UCLA has qualified for the NCAA Championship four times in the past five years and three consecutive years under Vincent's direction. The Bruins placed second nationally in 2004 and third in 2003.

Two weeks ago, UCLA won its second conference title during Vincent's tenure and he was voted Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the third time (UCLA 2003 and '06; Washington in 1999).

Sophomore Daniel Im won the Pac-10 individual title to become the sixth UCLA golfer to win the conference championship. He is ranked 23rd nationally and ranks second on the team with a scoring average of 72.2. Im was named 1st Team All-Pacific-10 Conference.

Freshman Erik Flores ranks 13th nationally and leads the team with a scoring average of 72.1. He also earned 1st Team All-Pac-10 honors while recording a team-best seven Top 10 finishes.

Junior Chris Heintz ranks 37th in the nation and boasts a 73.0 scoring average, third on the roster. He won his first collegiate event -- the Braveheart Classic -- in March, and has recorded three straight Top 10 finishes.

Chappell, a sophomore, is ranked 74th entering the East Regional, and sports a scoring average of 73.8. In his best outing of the season, he placed second at the Cullum Intercollegiate in November.

To date, Vincent has not decided whether freshmen James Lee or Lucas Lee will travel to Orlando. Lucas Lee won a pair of tournaments and is averaging 73.0 with 11 rounds under par. James Lee tied for 21st place at the Pac-10 Championship and has four Top 10 finishes.

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