The NCCGA will have 15 regions competing this weekend all across the country. Here's a look at each region, the favorites, the new teams, and a little more information into who might take home the hardware. Teams are competing for the chance to qualify for the Fall 2015 National Championship at TPC San Antonio.
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As we get back into the swing of things for the fall 2015 club golf season, we welcome a new team into the Central Region. We are welcoming Kansas State and they will offer a great deal of competition out on the course.
The region is also looking forward to seeing how the Saint Louis and Missouri rivalry plays out, and who will prevail this year. Missouri has traditionally dominated the region, but Saint Louis was able to snag a bid to nationals last spring. At the fall National Championship, SLU finished one shot ahead of Missouri, so look for the competition to be close again this season.
Look for SLU, Truman State, Southeast Missouri, and Kansas to all be competitive this weekend.
The Midwest region has rich tradition in the NCCGA, both on and off the course. Since the Fall 2010 National Championship the Midwest Region has had at least one team finish in the top ten at each semester, including a National Champion in The University of Michigan at the Fall 2013 NC. In terms of leadership, the Midwest has had two past presidents of the NCCGA, in The University of Dayton’s Matt Weinberger and The Ohio State University’s Kevin Hamori. At the time of their terms, both were members of the Midwest Region.
This staple region has now grown to ten schools and will have 12 teams competing this weekend. The field also includes individuals Evan Greig and Andrew Piwonski from Oakland University. Michigan, ranked #5 in the country, is the favorite going into the weekend followed closely by Michigan State at #9. There are several teams who can compete for the hardware at Stonehenge North and South Golf Course in Augusta, Michigan.
SUNY Cortland captured the Northeast Regional title last semester with Chris Carlson leading the way. Averaging a 78.5, Carlson leads the Northeast with the lowest average round score, and a national ranking of 160. Dan Miller, also from Cortland was right behind him in the region averaging an 80.5. Few teams came out to compete last year due to poor weather, and it is anyone's game this year. SUNY Brockport will return to action led by Trevor Ott with an average score of 81.5 as well as the University of Buffalo led by Jeremy Bartula with an average of 81.5. With back-to-back Regional weekends, it will be an exciting throw down for the Northeast title!
Ozark Region has seen great growth over this summer. With the addition of 3 new teams and schools bringing along B teams, we will have 9 teams playing at Cimarron Trails this weekend. Arkansas Tech comes in strong receiving a top 20 ranking from the NCCGA, but teams like Oklahoma State University and Arkansas are not going out without a fight.
The winds of Oklahoma could play a big factor in scoring this weekend as winds are expected to get above 15 mph. The winner of this tournament will put themselves in great position to capture the region and secure a spot to the #TrailtoTPC in San Antonio.
A region that started in the fall of 2013 from the split of the former Northeast region consisting of teams in the Pittsburgh, Eastern Ohio, Central PA, and Northern West Virginia. The Atlantic region offers great tournament locations such as previous venues of St. Jude Golf Club, Pheasant Ridge, and The Links at Spring Church. The region has been dominated by the University of Pittsburgh the past two semesters. The other members of the region must step up their game this spring to knock of Pitt. With new teams Carnegie Mellon, Case Western, St. Francis, Akron, and Slippery Rock there is new competition for Pitt to make their return to nationals this Spring at Bryan Park.
The first Atlantic Regional is coming up on the 26th and 27th of September at Toftrees Golf Resort and Conference Center. As of now we anticipate to have around 70 golfers which is up from last semester. We were one of the only regions to to send two teams to nationals. Pitt won the first regional and Penn State won the second regional (with Pitt winning the region on stroke differential). We look for other teams to join the rivalry.
Ohio Valley Region
Spring 2014 was the first semester for the Ohio Valley Region and it has continued to grow since it was created. It is now one of the biggest and most competitive regions in the country. The Region consists of schools from Ohio and Kentucky. Consistently well represented at Nationals, the Fall 2014 National Championship at Dancing Rabbit saw 3 Ohio Valley teams compete (Ohio State, Cincinnati, and Miami of Ohio).
Although the Ohio Valley Region only placed one team (Cincinnati) in the preseason top 25, the region should be as competitive as any other once again. Cincinnati, Ohio State, Miami and Dayton all look to compete for the crown while sleepers such as Ohio and newly added Louisville fight for a spot for the trip to San Antonio. We're expecting both regionals to be up for grabs, so don't be surprised to see the region's results come down to the wire with an exciting finish
The Desert Region is excited to begin their NCCGA Fall 2015 campaign next weekend with some new team additions! This season there will be six teams competing in the Desert. Defending Regional Champions Arizona State, Golf Academy-Chandler, New Mexico, Arizona, Grand Canyon, and Northern Arizona.
Grand Canyon University and Northern Arizona will be making their NCCGA debuts this week. The University of Arizona is also making a return this season after a season off. This region has been traditionally dominated by Arizona State. They are back-to-back region champs and once again have another strong team.
ASU club president Alec Costello intends to keep it that way. “We have a solid team that has come back as well as some great new additions” he said. I am sure that those words will stir up some fuss for those other teams competing and we cannot wait to get started!
The show begins September 26th and 27th at Palm Valley Golf Club in Goodyear, Arizona, and concludes Oct 31/Nov 1 at Paa-Ko Ridge.
**Jack Stephens is the NCCGA Director of Communications. Contact him on Twitter @NCCGABlogs.