Two A-Sun Teams Headed to NCAA Golf Championship

Monday, May 08, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Atlantic Sun Conference sent two teams to NCAA Regional play for the fourth conescutive season as ETSU and Jacksonville learned their destinations in the upcoming NCAA Men's Golf Championship.

The Bucs are seeded fourth in the West Regional while the Dolphins landed the 19th seed at the East Regional.

Three regional tournaments, encompassing the current nine regions, will be conducted May 18-20. A total of 27 teams and six individuals not on selected teams were assigned to each regional site. Ten teams and two individuals not on advancing teams will move on from each regional to the championship finals.

For the 11th-ranked ETSU men’s golf team, the road to the NCAA Championships will take the Buccaneers west. For the first time, the Buccaneers – who earned their bid thanks to a strong national ranking – will play in a region other than the east, traveling to play in the NCAA West Regional May 18-20 at the Omni Tucson National Golf Club.

“I think with the selection process this year there is a lot more parody,” said ETSU head coach Fred Warren, whose team has reached regional play 14 times since the NCAA instituted the format in 1989. “They shifted some really good teams like Florida, N.C. State and Alabama out west, while sending teams like UCLA and UNLV to the east region in Florida. It’s a much more balanced field in every region. I think our guys are looking forward to playing in a different part of the country and on a tougher course.”

The Bucs will also have the motivation of having just missed out on an NCAA Championship trip last season, when the team finished 13th in the east region after entering the final day of play in sixth. ETSU junior Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales), who is currently ranked fourth nationally, will lead a young ETSU squad into his second regional in as many years. Last season, Davies managed to qualify as an individual for the national tournament thanks to a second-place finish.

It served as inspiration during their A-Sun Championship run and now it will be their home for four days.

The Jacksonville men's golf team will be playing in the NCAA East Regional at Lake Nona Country Club in Orlando, Fla., on May 18-20.

"I'm glad we're going to Orlando," said JU head coach Jim Taketa. "We're familiar with that area after the conference tournament. We have a great opportunity, now we just have to see what we can do."

The Dolphins are seeded 19th among the 27 teams invading Lake Nona. JU will be up against national powers Georgia, UNLV, UCLA, Southern Cal and Auburn. JU will play its first round with Western Illinois (seeded 20th) and Wichita State (seeded 21st). First team All-Atlantic Sun selection and two-time A-Sun Championship medalist Duncan Stewart is making his second straight trip to the NCAA Regionals after qualifying as an individual last year.