Golfers Earn Regional Bid; Grady, Tolan All-Big 12
BOULDER - If You're Going To San Francisco was a hit by Scott Mackenzie some 42 years ago, and it must be on the collective brains of the University of Colorado men's golf team as the Buffaloes will be headed to the Bay Area for the third time this season. Except they won't be wearing flowers in their hair.
Colorado will be one of 13 teams competing in the San Francisco Regional, marking the fourth straight year the Buffaloes have been invited to play in the NCAA Championships. This year's event will take place just outside the San Francisco city limits at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, a 6,863-yard, par-72 layout that was originally designed in 1922 and then redesigned seven years later in 1929 under the guidance of fabled architect Dr. Alister Mackenzie.
The Buffs are the No. 8 seed in the regional, which is headlined by No. 3 Southern California, No. 13 Texas A&M and No. 15 Arizona State; CU is 2-1 against those three this season. Colorado, which was considered somewhere between the 43rd and 48th team in the nation by the selection committee, will play the first round with New Mexico and UC-Irvine.
Colorado has seen all but two of the other 12 teams in the regional this year, posting an 11-7 collective record against the group. The only two the Buffs have not seen are UC-Irvine and San Diego State.
There are six regionals in all, with each taking place May 14-16; in a change from past years, the top five teams along with one individual not on those teams will advance to the national finals. In the past, since the first regionals were created in 1989, there were only three sites, with 10 teams and two individuals moving on. This is the first time the Buffs are playing elsewhere besides the Central Regional, where they played the first 15 times since the format's inception.
"We're excited to be playing, and it appears the committee did a great job balancing the sites," CU head coach Roy Edwards said. "We've played a lot of these teams this year, and we look forward to getting back to the Bay Area after having some success at Pasatiempo (Western Intercollegiate) and the Olympic Club (San Francisco Intercollegiate)." Colorado finished second in both those competitions.
"It's a deep regional, and the lowest seeded team here (USF) is playing on its home course," Edwards said. "So any team can make it out. It's really a wide open field, which is what they wanted to accomplish with the six regional sites. Our chances are as good as anyone's. The way we're playing, really how we're playing is the most encouraging thing. With the freshmen coming along and our seniors being consistent, we know we're ready to go."
Edwards will take the same five players to the regional that participated in the Big 12 Championships, seniors Pat Grady and Derek Tolan, junior Luke Symons and freshmen Kevin Kring and Johnny Widmer.
"It's comfortable for us since we're used to going there so much, something like 10 times in my college career," Grady said. "We know the grasses, how the ball flies in that neck of the woods, the weather. We've played well there before, so we're confident we can play well there again."
This will be just the third time in 16 regional appearances that the Buffs will take two freshmen to the NCAA's. In 1999, Shawn Wills and Matt Zions were both true freshman, as is the pair this season, and a year later, Stephen Carroll, a redshirt frosh, and Kane Webber (true) helped represent CU.
The NCAA Finals will be May 26-30 in Toledo, and that format has also changed. There will be three days of stroke play to crown an individual champion, with the top eight teams advancing to two days of match play to determine the team champion.
The 81-team field (*?denotes automatic qualifier from conference championships; host school listed in parenthesis; CU record against each school in its regional also listed):
Austin Regional (Texas)?1. Stanford; 2. Florida; 3. Texas Tech; 4. Texas; 5. UNLV; 6. California; 7. *Lamar; 8. Michigan; 9. Texas-Arlington; 10. Virginia Tech; 11. Mississippi State; 12. *New Mexico State; 13. *Jackson State.
Bowling Green Regional (Western Kentucky)?1. *Washington; 2. *Georgia Tech; 3. North Carolina State; 4. UCLA; 5. Mississippi; 6. East Tennessee State; 7. Duke; 8. *Louisville; 9. Ohio State; 10. Vanderbilt; 11. *Middle Tennessee State; 12. *Austin Peay State; 13. *Cleveland State; 14. *Bucknell.
Galloway, N.J. Regional (Columbia)?1. Clemson; 2. Alabama; 3. *Illinois; 4. Tennessee; 5. Wake Forest; 6. Colorado State; 7. *Kent State; 8. *Coastal Carolina; 9. Virginia; 10. Penn State; 11. Minnesota; 12. *Virginia Commonwealth. 13. *Columbia. 14. *Sacred Heart.
San Francisco Regional (U. of San Francisco)?1. USC (0-1); 2. Texas A&M (1-0); 3. Arizona State (1-0); 4. San Diego State (0-0); 5. *UC-Davis (2-1); 6. Oregon (0-3); 7. New Mexico (1-1); 8. Colorado; 9. UC-Irvine (0-0); 10. Kansas State (1-1); 11. Oregon State (1-0); 12. San Diego (1-0); 13. *San Francisco (3-0).
Sorrento, Fla. Regional (UCF)?1. *Georgia; 2. Indiana; 3. South Carolina; 4. *Central Florida; 5. Florida State; 6. Arizona; 7. Augusta State; 8. Kentucky; 9. Georgia Southern; 10. Georgia State; 11. Iowa; 12. *UNC-Charlotte; 13. *Campbell; 14. *Loyola-Maryland.
Stillwater Regional (Oklahoma State)?1. *Oklahoma State; 2. Arkansas; 3. *TCU; 4. LSU; 5. *UT-Chattanooga; 6. Pepperdine; 7. Michigan State; 8. Baylor; 9. Northwestern; 10. Tulsa; 11. Denver; 12. *Wichita State; 13. *Oral Roberts.
GRADY, TOLAN EARN ALL-BIG 12 HONORS. Seniors Patrick Grady and Derek Tolan were named to the All-Big 12 Conference team Monday, the first time either golfer has been afforded the honor in their careers. Both were also named to the All-Tournament Team, the first time two Buffaloes earned that distinction the same year. The last time CU had two players selected to the All-Big 12 teams was in 2000, when Kane Webber and Matthew Zions were named to the squad. It's just the 12th time that two or more Buffaloes have earned first-team All-Conference honors, dating back to 1948 when CU joined the Big Seven. The last time it had happened prior to 2000 was in 1982, when Rick Cramer and Mike Hogberg made the team. Oklahoma State freshman Morgan Hoffmann was selected as both the player of the year and newcomer of the year, as he was one of five Cowboy golfers named to the all-conference team. Texas A&M had two players and Texas Tech one chosen to fill out the 10-member squad. OSU head coach Mike McGraw was selected coach of the year for the third straight season.
UPDATED RANKINGS. Colorado moved up eight spots to No. 39 in the Golfweek rankings, and 11 notches in the GolfStat tab to No. 43 in the updating ratings released Monday. It's the highest Colorado has been ranked in the spring. Tolan is ranked as the nation's No. 40 player in both, while Grady is No. 42 by Golfweek but somehow is only No. 100 by GolfStat, besides being just separated by three strokes over 37 rounds (666 holes) versus Tolan.