Men's Golf Set to Host Baton Rouge Regional
BATON ROUGE – The road to the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships rolls through The University Club this week as the No. 6-ranked and No. 1-seeded LSU Tigers play host to a loaded field of 14 teams and five individuals teeing it up at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional beginning Monday at 8 a.m. CT.
Tee times in Monday’s opening round are set to begin at 8 a.m. on the front nine and 8:20 a.m. on the back nine, while the three-day, 54-hole regional championship continues Tuesday with the second round at 8 a.m. and Wednesday with the final round at 7:30 a.m. The University Club will play to a par 72 and a lengthy 7,372 yards for the event.
This marks the second time that the University Club will play host to NCAA Regional play on the men’s side as the Tigers also advanced on their home course in 2013 while playing as the No. 3 seed.
Each of the 14 teams at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional will compete for five qualifying spots into the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships running May 26-31 at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Five will qualify from each of the six NCAA Regional sites across the country to make up the field of 30 teams at this year’s NCAA Championships.
LSU has now earned an NCAA Regional selection in 10-straight seasons since 2008 and 11 times in its 12 seasons under head coach Chuck Winstead. While hosting the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at the University Club, they will look to qualify for the field at the NCAA Championships for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
Golfstat will provide live scoring for the event as fans can follow the Tigers and the rest of the teams in action at http://www.golfstat.com.
Fans of college golf across the country will surely have their eye on the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional as it features each of the sport’s last two NCAA Champions with No. 1 seed LSU (2015) and No. 2 seed Oregon (2016) headlining the 14 teams in the field this week. The tournament also sets up a rematch of sorts as Oregon defeated LSU, 3.5-1.5, in the quarterfinal round of match play at last year’s NCAA Championship en route to the national title on its home course at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club.
Rounding out this field are No. 3-seeded and No. 18-ranked Virginia, No. 4-seeded and No. 19-ranked Duke as the 2017 ACC Champion and No. 5-seeded Northwestern. Rounding out the field are No. 6 seed Arkansas, No. 7 seed Jacksonville, No. 8 seed Kentucky, No. 9 seed South Florida, No. 10 seed Iowa, No. 11 seed Georgia State, No. 12 seed Jacksonville State, No. 13 seed Loyola-Maryland and No. 14 seed Alabama State.
Mississippi State’s Peng Pichaikool, Arkansas State’s Zan Luka Stirn, UAB’s R.J. Keur, Texas-San Antonio’s Zander Lozano and Nicholls State’s Albert Badosa-Soler will compete as individuals here this week.
Following their practice round at the University Club on Sunday, LSU, Oregon and Virginia are paired with one another in Monday’s opening round as they will start in the first wave off the front nine beginning at 8 a.m. CT. Pairings of teams and individuals in the second and third rounds will be determined based on the results of each round.
LSU has established itself as one of the elite programs in college golf in recent years as it joins Illinois as the only two teams nationwide to qualify for the Match Play Eight at the NCAA Championships for each of the last three seasons. Bookending LSU’s SEC and NCAA title sweep in 2015 are trips to the NCAA Semifinals in 2014 and NCAA Quarterfinals in 2016.
The Tigers have followed with another successful season in 2016-17 as they have captured five tournament titles to sit at No. 6 nationally in the final Golfstat power rankings heading into NCAA Regional play.
An experienced lineup will look to lead the Tigers back to the NCAA Championships as seniors Brandon Pierce and Eric Ricard, sophomores Sam Burns and Luis Gagne and freshman Philip Barbaree tee it up at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional this week. Pierce and Ricard are both making their third-straight NCAA Regional appearance, while Burns and Gagne make their second and Barbaree is set for his debut.
This marks the fifth-straight tournament in which Head Coach Chuck Winstead has selected the same starting lineup as this quintet has featured each time since the General Hackler Championship back in March.
Burns, the 2017 SEC Player of the Year and First-Team All-SEC selection, plays as the No. 2-ranked player in the country in both the Golfstat and Golfweek individual rankings after running his streak of top-10 finishes on the season to 13-straight when he tied for ninth place at the SEC Championships last month.
Burns, who was recently named to Team USA’s Arnold Palmer Cup squad this summer and a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Division I National Player of the Year Award, has cracked the Top 10 in each of his 13 appearances this season and continues to lead the team with a 69.69 scoring average in his 36 competitive rounds for the year. As a sophomore, Burns is on pace to take down his 72.42 scoring average as a freshman in 2015-16 and Pierce’s single-season scoring record for the Tigers of 71.16 set during their the 2014-15 campaign.
Gagne is also fresh off earning his first career All-SEC honor when he picked up a second-team selection after tying for seventh place at the conference tournament in April. He enters NCAA Regional play as the No. 25-ranked player in the country according to Golfweek while averaging a career-low 71.03 strokes per round. Among Gagne’s 13 tournament appearances this season are six top-10 and 11 top-20 finishes this season.
Pierce has proven once again to be one of the elite players in college golf as the No. 38-ranked player nationally by Golfweek. While pushing his career-best with a 71.67 scoring average to rank third on the team on the season, he has matched Gagne with six top-10 finishes from his 10 starts as he helps lead the Tigers into NCAA postseason play for the final time.
Ricard makes his 13th appearance of the season as he boasts a 72.85 scoring average and three Top 10s this year, while Barbaree owns a 73.56 stroke average in seven starts this spring after enrolling at LSU in January.
Around The Regionals
Six NCAA Regionals will be contested across the country as teams will look to finish in the Top 5 of the final team standings to make up the 30-team field at the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships.
While the Tigers will play host to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at the University Club, The Grove (College Grove, Tennessee), Kampen Course (West Lafayette, Indiana), University of Texas Golf Club (Austin, Texas), Stanford Golf Course (Palo Alto, California) and Aldarra Golf Club (Sammamish, Washington) will also serve as 2017 NCAA Regional host sites.