Feature: Men's Golf Secures Second Seed In West Regional

May 17, 2007

By Shahane Martirosyan
Daily Bruin

May 17, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- As the men's golfers go into this week's NCAA West Regional, there is only one thing on their minds: Demonstrate a performance that could foreshadow their success in the NCAA Championships.

The No. 4 UCLA men's golf team is ready to achieve a much-awaited tournament win. UCLA was surprisingly seeded second in the regional that will take place today through Saturday in Tempe, Arizona. The Bruins are going to face 27 schools, including their crosstown rival USC.

Stanford was seeded first overall in the NCAA Tournament. Although the Trojans dominated in the Pac-10 Championship, they were seeded two places behind the Bruins.

'It surprised all of us,' junior Kevin Chappell said. 'They went off of a ranking we didn't think they were going to go off of - the Golf Stat ranking - and that's where (USC) falls and that's where we fall.'

Coming out of a recent dual match against the Trojans that ended in a tie, the Bruins are going to have another chance to dethrone USC after they were unable to do so at the Pac-10 Championships.

Sophomore Lucas Lee did not play at the dual match; however, he will be participating at the regional. Lee's return will provide the Bruins with a talented golfer who should be able to push the team score down. Lee's average score this year is 72.

But aside from the rivalry between USC and UCLA, the teams usually look forward to playing one another.

'We're friendly with each other, but we're very competitive against each other,' assistant coach Derek Freeman said. 'We respect USC.'

There will be many good, if not great, teams participating at the regional. UCLA is going to be playing with Stanford and UNLV in the first two rounds. For a team that has gone through a huge metamorphosis from where they were in September to where they are right now, it is not going to matter who the Bruins face. What matters to the team is their ability to perform well on their own without any influence from the other teams in the tournament.

'This is another tournament; we just want to go there and try to win,' Freeman said. 'It doesn't really matter who we'll play with.'

In fact, the team has gained confidence at this level. They are looking forward to the tournament and are hoping that their regional performance will get them into a favorable position at the NCAA Championships.

'We expect to win, to put ourselves in the best position we can be,' coach O.D. Vincent said.

The Bruins are also confident that they will be successful in the individual rounds as well.

'We don't want to just go there and expect to get in the top 10,' Chappell said. 'I expect for our team to win. I expect for myself to win. It's going to be a battle.'

The team is looking forward to playing this tournament. For the Bruins, this is simply another step to get to nationals.

UCLA has finished in the top 10 in their regional for the past four years. This year, the roster has enough depth to not only win the regional, but additionally perform well at nationals.

'Confidence level is very high. Regional is a very important event; you have to play well to go to the nationals. We know we have to play well and try to win the tournament,' Freeman said. 'We'll see what happens and move on to the nationals.'

(C) 2007 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

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