Five Pac-12 men's golf teams compete at NCAA Championships
SAN FRANCISCO-- Five Pac-12 Conference men’s golf teams advanced through regional play and will compete at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship at The Eugene Country Club (7,014 yards, par 70), Eugene, Ore. (University of Oregon, host), May 27-June 1.
Only one other conference has more teams in the 30-team field than the Pac-12 Conference. Representing the Pac-12 will be ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, OREGON, Pac-12 champion STANFORD and USC. While the individual champion will be decided during the four days of competition from May 27-30, the field of 30 teams will be cut to 15 after the third round and the top eight teams after four days of stroke play will participate in a match-play format on May 31-June 1 to determine the NCAA Champion.
STANFORD (No. 1 seed) – Junior Maverick McNealy (69.15 avg) and senior teammate David Boote (70.82), each earned first team All-Pac-12 honors. Stanford captured the Tucson Regional by a 14-stroke margin as it posted a 31-under. McNealy, whose stroke average tops the nation, repeated as the Pac-12 Player of the Year. He has four tournament wins this year, 10 for his career (one shy of the Stanford record of 11 shared by Tigers Woods and Patrick Rodgers). Sophomore Franklin Huang (70.68) earned medalist honors at the Tucson Regional carding a score of 12-under, while McNealy finished second (10-under). The Cardinal, currently ranked No. 3 by Golfweek, enter the NCAA Championships as the top seed. Stanford has posted seven top-5 finishes this season, including victories in each of the last three tournaments, which featured a 29-stroke margin of victory at the Pac-12 Championships. The Cardinal have claimed eight NCAA titles (1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1946, 1953, 1994, 2007),
USC (No. 3 seed) – The Trojans have won three tournaments this season behind junior Rico Hoey (71.03) and sophomores Sean Crocker (72.11) and Jonah Texeira (72.62). Hoey and freshman Justin Suh (72.79) tied for medalist honors at the U.S. Open Local Qualifier (Indian Ridge Country Club, Palm Desert, Calif.) and advance to the U.S. Open Sectional (June 6). Crocker (+1) placed second in leading the Trojans to a third-place finish at the Albuquerque Regional. USC advanced to the championship round of match-play at the NCAA Championships last year before finishing runner-up to LSU. USC is ranked No. 10 by Golfweek, and enters the NCAA Championships as the third seed.
ARIZONA STATE (No. 7 seed) – The Sun Devils have finished among the top four in 12 tournaments during the 2015-16 season. Senior Jon Rahm (69.38) is rated the No. 1 World Amateur according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR). Rahm has 12 career collegiate victories, second-most in ASU history behind Phil Mickelson (16). He has recorded 11 top-10 finishes in all 12 events during the 2015-16 season, including back-to-back medalist honors at the Pac-12 Championships (-12) and NCAA Albuquerque Regional (-4). He was the only player in the Albuquerque field to finish under par as he led the Sun Devils to the team title, their seventh regional victory all-time. He has a chance to repeat as the Ben Hogan Award winner as he is one of three finalists for the honor this year. Junior Jared du Toit (71.57) has five top-10 finishes, while senior Max Rottluff (71.79) has posted four top-10 finishes. The Sun Devils are ranked No. 13 by Golfweek.
CALIFORNIA (No. 11 seed) – The Golden Bears have nine top-three finishes in 13 tournaments this season and advance to the NCAA Championships after a fourth-place finish in the Tucson Regional. Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Collin Morikawa (71.25) and sophomore KK Limbhasut (71.08) have posted six and eight top 10 finishes, respectively. Limbhasut finished tied for third (-7) at the Pac-12 Championships as he carded 66 in three of four rounds. He then added two more sub-70 rounds to finish tied for fourth (-6) at the Tucson Regional. Morikawa’s scoring average is fourth best among all Division I freshmen. Coach Steve Desimone will retire at the end of the season, his 37th at the helm of the Cal program. The Golden Bears captured the 2004 NCAA title under Desmone’s tutelage.
OREGON (No. 20 seed) – The Ducks have posted eight top-five finishes in 12 tournaments, including the NCAA Tucson Regional where they finished second with a team score of 17-under. The Ducks advance to the NCAA Championship where they have the advantage of playing on their home course. Sophomore Aaron Wise (69.92) joins Stanford’s Maverick McNealy and Arizona State’s Jon Rahm as one of the top six amateurs in the world (according to WAGR). Senior Zach Foushee (72.58) and juniors Thomas Lim (72.26) and Sulman Raza (72.65) lend depth to the Ducks. Between the Pac-12 Championships and the NCAA Regionals, Wise won the PGA TOUR Canada’s British Columbia Qualifying Tournament and then earned medalist honors at the U.S. Open Local Qualifier (Pronghorn Resort, Bend, Ore.). Raza finished in a tie for fourth in the Qualifier and now he and Wise advance to the U.S. Open Sectional (June 6).
Live Scoring/Television Coverage: Live scoring will available at www.golfstat.com, while the Golf Channel will have live coverage of the final round of stroke play that determines the individual national champion and the top eight teams for match play.
Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times PT)
Mon., May 30 Final Round, Individual National Championship 4-7 p.m.
Tues., May 31 Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 10:30-12:30 p.m.
Tues., May 31 Semifinals, Team Match Play 3:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Wed., June 1 Finals, Team Match Play 3-7 p.m.
Conference of Champions: The Pac-12 Conference has claimed 14 NCAA team titles and produced 17 NCAA individual champions. Since 2003, the Pac-12 has netted three team champions (2004 - California; 2007 - Stanford; 2008 - UCLA) and six individual champions (2003 - Alejandro Canizares, ASU; 2005 - James Lepp, WASH; 2007 - Jamie Lovemark, USC; 2008 - Kevin Chappell, UCLA; 2013 - Max Homa, CAL; 2014 – Cameron Wilson, STAN).
Hogan Award Stays in the Pac-12: ARIZONA STATE senior Jon Rahm, the Pac-12 Conference medalist, became the first golfer to win the award more than once as he repeated as the Ben Hogan Award winner. The Ben Hogan Award is presented annually to the top men’s NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the last 12 months. The 2016 Ben Hogan Award recipient will receive an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s 2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational, as well as earn a $30,000 grant for its men’s golf scholarship program. The other two finalists’ schools each will receive grants of $15,000. In addition to Rahm, STANFORD junior Maverick McNealy and Texas junior Beau Hossler were finalists for the Award. A Pac-12 golfer has now claimed the award each of the last five years – Patrick Cantlay (UCLA, 2012), Chris Williams (Washington, 2013), Patrick Rodgers (Stanford, 2014) and Jon Rahm (Arizona State, 2015 and 2016).