Men's Golf Set to Tee Off at Palo Alto Regional

+0
Men's Golf Set to Tee Off at Palo Alto Regional

BATON ROUGE – The No. 23-ranked LSU men’s golf team is poised to qualify for its third-straight NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships this weekend as it will make the trip to Palo Alto, Calif., as the No. 5 seed at the NCAA Stanford Regional beginning Thursday at the Stanford Golf Course.

The Tigers will look to earn a spot in the field at the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row after advancing in 2010 with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional and in 2011 with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Virginia Tech Regional held last spring.

The opening round is set to begin Thursday on holes No. 1 and No. 10 with tee times at 10 a.m. CDT. The second round on Friday is also set to begin with tee times at 10 a.m., followed by the third and final round on Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. Teams will play 18 holes each day of the competition.

The No. 5-seeded Tigers are among 13 teams competing in regional play at the Stanford Golf Course with the course playing to a par 70 and 6,742 yards for the three-day, 54-hole championship.

While LSU will compete at the Stanford Golf Course, the University of Georgia Golf Club (Athens, Ga.), Grandover Resort (Greensboro, N.C.), the Club at Olde Stone (Bowling Green, Ky.), the University of Michigan Golf Course (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and the Jimmie Austin Golf Club (Norman, Okla.) are also set to serve as 2012 NCAA Regional host sites this weekend.

The top five teams at each regional site will earn the right to tee it up in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships being held May 29-June 3 at Riviera Golf Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

LSU is ranked as No. 23 nationally in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index as it prepares to tee off in NCAA Regional play for the fifth year in a row. The Tigers are also ranked No. 25 nationally in the latest Golfstat Top 25 and Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ Top 25 rankings.

As the name might suggest, No. 2 seed and No. 8-ranked Stanford will play host to the Stanford Regional, while No. 1 seed and No. 7-ranked California, No. 3 seed and No. 14-ranked San Diego State and No. 4 seed and No. 22-ranked Central Florida are among the favorites to earn a top-five finish in the event. The tournament also features such teams in order of seeding as UAB, Wichita State, Tennessee, Oregon State, Southeastern Louisiana, San Francisco, San Jose State and UC-Davis.

The Tigers are paired with Central Florida and UAB in Thursday’s first round and will tee off on the back nine beginning at 10:20 a.m. CDT. Live scoring will be provided by Golfstat at www.golfstat.com.

The Tigers have enjoyed a tremendous 2011-12 campaign in which they have won three tournament titles for the fourth-straight season. They have captured three team championships in their last five appearances this spring with team titles at the Louisiana Classics (March 5-6), Argent Financial Classic (March 11-13) and LSU National Invitational (March 31-April 1) to wrap up the regular season.

This marks the fifth year in a row that the Tigers will compete in NCAA Regional play, as they received a berth into the NCAA West Regional in 2008, the NCAA South Central Regional in 2009, the NCAA Central Regional in 2010 and the Virginia Tech Regional in 2011.

The Tigers are sure to be led by their All-SEC duo of senior Sang Yi and sophomore Andrew Presley here this weekend after starting all 10 54-hole tournaments heading into NCAA Regional play.

Yi is the team’s leading scorer on the season with a career-best 71.93 scoring average in 31 rounds played that ranks No. 10 on the SEC’s scoring list for his senior season. He has also set career highs with his four top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes in 10 tournament starts on the year, which includes a collegiate best second-place finish with a career-low 7-under par 209 at the Louisiana Classics.

Yi entered postseason play with an impressive run of five-straight top-10 finishes for the spring campaign as he teed off at the 2012 SEC Men’s Golf Championships on April 20.

Presley has emerged as one of the SEC’s top young players with his performance as a sophomore in 2012 as he is one of nine golfers earning a Second-Team All-SEC selection with his performance.

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Presley has recorded a career-low 72.48 scoring average in his 10 starts on the campaign to rank among the Top 20 scorers in the SEC. Among Presley’s two top-five and four top-10 finishes this season was his first collegiate victory at the Louisiana Classics, where he had a career-low 54-hole score of 10-under par 206 en route to a three-shot victory over Yi.

Presley’s victory at the Louisiana Classics earned him the selection as the SEC Men’s Golfer of the Week on March 8. He opened postseason play with four-straight top-10 finishes to his credit.

Both Yi and Presley rank among the Top 50 players in all of college golf in the latest Golfweek individual rankings as Yi ranks No. 40 and Presley ranks No. 43 in the current Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index released on Thursday of last week. Each is sure to receive All-America consideration for their efforts.

Also earning their spot in LSU’s five-man lineup for the 2012 NCAA Stanford Regional are senior Austin Gutgsell and freshmen Stewart Jolly and Curtis Thompson. Gutgsell, who has posted a career-low scoring average at 72.64 strokes per round this season, is set to make his third NCAA Regional appearance for the Tigers, while Jolly and Thompson are each making their first NCAA postseason appearance.