Men's Golf Set for NCAA Championships

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Men's Golf Set for NCAA Championships

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s golf team will join the top programs from across the country this week at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn., as it competes for a national championship with a trip to the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships beginning Tuesday morning.

The Tigers are making their first NCAA Championships appearance since 1997 after earning a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional held at The Warren Course in South Bend, Ind., on April 22.

LSU will join 29 other teams this week at the NCAA Championships as the top-five teams in six regional tournaments earned the right to compete for a national championship.

Teams will compete against one another in three rounds of medal play beginning Tuesday morning. After wrapping up 54 holes of medal play on Thursday, the individual NCAA champion will be crowned and the top eight teams finishing in the final standings will be seeded according to finish and earn a spot in the single-elimination match play tournament that will crown this year’s national champion.

The quarterfinals of the match play tournament will be held on Friday, followed by the semifinal round on Saturday and the national championship match on Sunday.

“The Honors Course is a tremendous golf course,” said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. “It’ll test all of the facets of our game. The players who drive it well will be able to get it on the correct parts of the green where it needs to be, which will help as the greens here are severe.”

The Tigers will tee off as the No. 28 overall seed in the 30-team field while they will be joined in order of seeding by No. 1 Oregon, No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 4 Washington, No. 5 Texas, No. 6 Texas Tech, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 8 USC, No. 9 Augusta State and No. 10 Florida State.

Rounding out this year’s NCAA field are No. 11 Clemson, No. 12 UCLA, No. 13 Florida, No. 14 Georgia Tech, No. 15 UNLV, No. 16 Kent State, No. 17 TCU, No. 18 San Diego, No. 19 California, No. 20 Arizona State, No. 21 Oregon State, No. 22 North Florida, No. 23 Duke, No. 24 Tennessee, No. 25 Penn State, No. 26 Virginia, No. 27 Illinois, No. 29 Baylor and No. 30 Georgia Southern.

Texas A&M returns as the defending national champion after defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks 3 & 2 in the national championship match at The Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

The Tigers will tee off in the morning wave on Tuesday and the afternoon wave on Wednesday as they’re paired with Baylor and Georgia Southern in the first and second rounds. They will tee off on the front nine Tuesday beginning at 7:35 a.m. CT and on the back nine Wednesday beginning at 12:47 p.m.

The NCAA will provide a live webcast of the championships during the second and third rounds of stroke play, which can be found online at www.NCAA.com. Live scoring from each round of stroke play will be provided by Golfstat and can be found by logging on to www.golfstat.com.

LSU fans can also receive coverage of the Tigers by following @LSUMensGolf on Twitter and becoming a fan of the official LSU Men’s Golf team page on Facebook.com.

“Our guys are looking forward to the challenge. We just need to play our game,” Winstead said. “It’ll be a key for us to be aggressive into the pins. Everyone will make a few bogeys on this golf course. We should offset that with aggressive play into the pins to put ourselves in position to make some putts. If we do that then will put ourselves in a position to compete.”

While LSU is making its first appearance at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships since 1997, the Tigers have a rich history and tradition in national competition as they have won four national championships for the program with 19 Top 10 finishes all-time. The Tigers finished 18th in their last appearance in 1997.

Winstead has elected to play with the same starting lineup that earned a spot in the championships field as juniors Andrew Loupe, John Peterson and Clayton Rotz and sophomores Austin Gutgsell and Sang Yi make their return following a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional Championships.

The Tigers qualified for this year’s NCAA Championships by posting a 54-hole score of 7-over par 847 at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course at the NCAA Central Regional nearly two weeks ago.

Loupe led the way with his team-leading sixth Top 10 finish of the year. The Baton Rouge native finished in a tie for sixth place individually with a score of 2-under 208. Loupe has been on fire in the postseason as he tied for fourth place on the leaderboard in leading the Tigers to a fifth-place finish at the SEC Men’s Golf Championships in April. On the strength of a team-leading 71.9 scoring average this year, Loupe has been tabbed a First-Team All-SEC performer and is a strong candidate for All-America recognition.

Loupe is ranked among the top college golfers in the country this season as he enters the tournament with a No. 44 ranking in the latest Golfweek list of the Top 100 college golfers in the country.

Peterson joins Loupe in the Golfweek rankings entering the NCAA Championships as he ranks No. 90 for his outstanding performance this season while posting a pair of Top 10 finishes and a 72.5 stroke average.

Loupe, Peterson and Yi will each be making their 13th appearance for the Tigers as they hold the distinction as the only three players on the team who have appeared in all 12 tournaments heading into the NCAA Championships. Gutgsell is making his 12th start, while Rotz is making his seventh start for LSU.