Men's Golf Earns Bid to NCAA West Regional
RENO, Nev. The University of Nevada men’s golf team has earned an invitation to the NCAA West Regional in Tempe, Ariz., the NCAA Men’s Golf Committee announced during a conference call on Monday afternoon.
The automatic qualifier from the Western Athletic Conference after winning the WAC Championship last week in Reno, Nevada earned the 22nd seed in the NCAA West Regional. Arizona State University will play host to the event Thursday-Saturday, May 17-19 at the par 72, 7,057-yard ASU Karsten Golf Course in Tempe.
Joining Nevada in the 27-team field in Tempe are Stanford, UCLA, UNLV, USC, East Tennessee State, Brigham Young, Arizona State, Wake Forest, Arizona, UC Irvine, South Carolina, Washington, Vanderbilt, Augusta State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, New Mexico, Oregon State, Colorado State, Oregon, California, Denver, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Bucknell and Monmouth.
“We’re really excited. We’re going to be prepared and ready to go,” said third-year Nevada head coach Rich Merritt. “(Staying in the West), we just feel comfortable in our environment. I tell the guys all the time that just because someone has a name on their back doesn’t mean they are better than us. We have a tall task in front of us next week, but we’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great experience for these guys. This is the reason they came to the University of Nevada.”
“We’re going to ASU, somewhere not too far from home. We’ve seen a lot of those teams this year and have some familiarity with them. There’s just something about staying on the West Coast and being in a West Coast field,” freshman Taylor Coffman said. “To hear our name called was great. I am excited to go down there and play.”
Nevada’s lineup for the NCAA West Regional will include Coffman, junior Chase Cooper, sophomore Matt Rippy, freshman Ryan Hallisey and junior James Haban. Coffman was named the WAC Player and Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-WAC selection, while Rippy also earned first-team all-conference honors. Hallisey was a second-team honoree, and Merritt was named the 2007 WAC Coach of the Year.
A total of 81 teams and 18 individuals earned invitations to the three NCAA Regionals (27 teams and six individuals at each site). In addition to Arizona State, Georgia Tech will host the East Regional at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, Ga., and Northern Illinois will host the Central Regional at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
The top 10 teams and two individuals from each regional site will advance on to the 2007 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships May 30-June 2 in Williamsburg, Va. Virginia Commonwealth University will play host to the 110th annual national tournament on the Gold Course of the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg.
Last season, led by co-medalist Casey Watabu, Nevada finished in a tie for ninth at the NCAA West Regional in Tucson, Ariz., to earn its first trip to the NCAA Championships in 16 years.