Golfers Qualify For NCAA Championships
BOULDER - The University of Colorado men's golf team earned its third straight invitation to the NCAA Championships, and the Buffaloes will be returning to a course that was most friendly to them just last month.
The Buffaloes are one of 27 teams that will participate in the NCAA Central Regional in Columbus , Ohio , at Ohio State University 's Scarlet Course from May 15-17. Eighty-one teams and six individuals were invited to this year's championships, which culminate in the top 10 schools from each of the three regionals advancing to the NCAA Championship Finals in West Lafayette , Ind. , May 28-31.
This marks the third consecutive year the Buffaloes will participate in the NCAA's, the eighth time in the last 10 years and for the 15th time in the 20 seasons since regional play was instituted in 1989. It's Colorado 's 26th overall appearance in the national championships.
CU is seeded No. 21 in the region and is one of eight Big 12 Conference schools advancing to the postseason. The Southeastern Conference had the most schools selected with 11, with the Atlantic Coast and Pacific-10 conferences sending nine.
The Scarlet Course was the site of CU's second tournament win of the 2007-08 season, as the Buffaloes won OSU's Robert Kepler Intercollegiate on April 13 by three strokes over Michigan State . In addition to the Spartans, the eighth seed in the East region, CU defeated six other NCAA-bound participants that day, including five who will compete in the Central region: Kent State (No. 12 seed), Penn State (No. 13), Michigan (No. 15), Illinois (No. 18) and Ohio State (No. 19), along with Wisconsin, the No. 20 seed in the West region.
All five Buffaloes who played in the OSU meet in April will represent Colorado in the NCAA's. In arguably the best balanced effort all season by the Buffs, CU placed three in the top 13 and all five in the top 34 in the 75-man field. Sophomore Luke Symons (tie-2nd), senior Michael Baird (tie-10th), junior Derek Tolan (tie-13th), senior Jim Grady (tie-21st) and freshman Michael Imperato (tie-34th) played well on the Scarlet Course and now get another crack at it.
"It's real exciting, especially considering the new requirements implemented this season," CU head coach Roy Edwards said of his team's second NCAA berth in as many years at the reins of the program. "The NCAA got away from the district system and now looks at the whole body of work by a school, much like the NCAA basketball tournament. Everybody is in the same pot."
Schools had to own a winning record overall, and Colorado was 91-57-1 against all other Division I opponents in 2007-08; once meeting that qualification, other factors were considering in selecting then seeding teams. In this week's national rankings, the Buffaloes are currently No. 64 by GolfStat and No. 67 by Golfweek.
As for returning to Columbus , Edwards said his. "We feel really confident about it, knowing that we had success there. One of the reasons we wanted to play there this year was to get ready to the regional if we got selected, and the same five guys are going. The course was set-up tough back in April, but the greens will be faster though the pin locations will probably be easier. It's a tough test of golf, but it's one of the favorite courses that the guys have played, not just this year, but all the time."
A look at the entire field by region, with the teams listed in order of seeding:
EAST REGION (27)-1. Georgia; 2. UNC-Charlotte; 3. South Carolina ; 4. Duke; 5. UT-Chattanooga; 6. Auburn ; 7. East Tennessee State ; 8. Michigan State ; 9. Mississippi ; 10. Alabama-Birmingham; 11. Virginia Tech; 12. North Carolina State ; 13. Mississippi State ; 14. Georgia State ; 15. North Florida ; 16. UC-Irvine; 17. Augusta State ; 18, SMU; 19, Middle Tennessee State ; 20. Coastal Carolina ; 21. Memphis ; 22. Virginia; 23. Western Carolina ; 24. Colorado State ; 25. New Mexico State ; 26. Western Illinois ; 27. Jackson State .
CENTRAL REGION (27)-1. Alabama ; 2. Oklahoma State ; 3. Georgia Tech; 4. Florida ; 5. Tennessee ; 6. Lamar; 7. Wake Forest ; 8. Indiana; 9. Texas A&M; 10. Louisville ; 11. Wichita State ; 12. Kent State ; 13. Penn State ; 14. Arkansas ; 15. Michigan ; 16. TCU; 17. Texas-Arlington; 18. Illinois ; 19. Ohio State ; 20. Baylor; 21. Colorado ; 22. Eastern Kentucky ; 23. Marquette; 24. Eastern Michigan ; 25. Cleveland State ; 26. Loyola-Maryland; 27. Sacred Heart.
WEST REGION (27) 1. USC; 2. UCLA; 3. Florida State ; 4. Stanford; 5. Clemson; 6. UNLV; 7. North Carolina ; 8. Texas Tech; 9. Central Florida ; 10. Arizona State ; 11. San Diego State ; 12. Texas ; 13. Louisiana State ; 14. Oregon State ; 15. Pepperdine; 16. Oregon ; 17. California ; 18. St. Mary's ( Calif. ); 19. Kentucky ; 20. Wisconsin ; 21. Washington ; 22. Oklahoma ; 23. Kansas State ; 24. San Diego ; 25. Denver ; 26. Navy; 27. Columbia .