UCLA Earns Sixth Straight Berth to NCAA Championship

May 27, 2008

Fourth-ranked UCLA travels to W. Lafayette, Ind. to compete in the 111th NCAA Men's Golf Championship at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex Kampen Course, May 28-31. Purdue University will serve as the host institution.

UCLA will be represented for the 40th time at the collegiate national championship, 27th by a team. The Bruins won their only NCAA title 20 years ago at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village.

The Bruins will be making their sixth straight start at the NCAA Championship, a school record. That streak is tied with Arizona State for the fourth longest in the country entering the 2008 championship. It is the first appearance for Head Coach Derek Freeman at the Division I level. In 2005, Freeman led the Oklahoma City University women's team to the NAIA championship.

In their previous five NCAA Championship starts, the Bruins recorded a pair of podium finishes (2003 and '04), two seventh place results and a 30th, all under former coach O.D. Vincent (now at Duke).

'It's a great achievement for this program to set a school record like that,' said Freeman. 'At the same time, we've got our work cut out for us: we must prepare for a tough golf course and some outstanding competition. We must be on our game from the first shot to the last.'

At the NCAA West Regional, May 15-17, the Bruins finished fifth at 876 (+10) behind Pac-10 rivals USC (1st), Oregon (2nd) and Washington (4th). Clemson placed third, seven shots in front of the Bruins.

Senior Kevin Chappell and junior Erik Flores tied for eighth place at two-under par 214 to lead UCLA in its sixth consecutive regional start in which the team finished seventh or better.

For the fifth consecutive tournament, Chappell finished among the Top 10 individuals. In three of his last four events he has recorded a podium result. Ranked third nationally, he is on pace to set a school record for single season scoring average (70.9). With four career tournament victories, he ranks in a tie for fifth on the all-time UCLA chart.

Flores, a second-team All-American in 2006, has rebounded in his junior season to win one tournament and match his freshman scoring average of 72.1. Flores' regional result marked his sixth Top 10 finish in 11 appearances this season. His career percentage of sub-rounds is 39% and that mark leads the team.

Junior Lucas Lee, a third-team All-American last year, leads the team with five career victories and ranks fourth on the UCLA charts in career victories. He has won at least one tournament in each of his three seasons, including a victory at the Augusta State event in April.

Senior Craig Leslie is enjoying his best season ever, averaging a career best 73.3 and recording eight sub-par rounds. In his best start of the year, he placed second to Flores, one shot behind, at the Cal State Bakersfield tournament.

Freshman Philip Francis has enjoyed a solid rookie season, averaging 73.2 with a tie for seventh at the Cal Poly tournament in March and seven rounds under par. He also tied for 16th at the Pac-10 Championship, highlighted by two rounds of 70 (-2). He earned All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors in 2008.

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