Written By: Travis Richardson | @travis_richson
The Fall 2015 NCCGA National Championship wrapped up exactly 96 days ago at TPC San Antonio. I'm not sure about you, but we here at Nextgengolf and the NCCGA couldn't be more excited for the Spring 2016 season to start. While many regions are currently experiencing snow or cold temperatures,
four three regions will be kicking off the college golf club season in the Southern parts of the country (South cancelled by rain and subsequent flooding at the course).
Here's a quick preview of the college golf tournaments this weekend and what you can expect. Follow all the action this weekend on Twitter @NCCGA. We hope to see the participating teams and individuals posting photos and some (polite) trash talk!
The Desert Region will begin the Spring 2016 season at El Conquistador Golf Resort in Oro Valley, Arizona. A competitive field that includes defending Regional Champions Arizona State, Golf Academy of America-Chandler, Grand Canyon University, and New Mexico will look to take the first step in qualifying for the NCCGA National Championship in West Virginia this April.
Arizona State has pretty much dominated the Desert Region since its inception, but the competition level has increased considerably and has made for one of the more competitive fields in the region's short history. In the Fall, Arizona State finished second at both tournaments, with Golf Academy-Chandler and Grand Canyon winning the first and second regional tournaments, respectively. The Sun Devils still qualified for Nationals due to their consistent play, and walked away with an 8th place finish at the tough TPC San Antonio.
However, both Grand Canyon and GAA-Chandler are going into the season with momentum. They helped snap Arizona State's streak of regional tournament victories last season, and both are expecting to make the trip themselves to West Virginia. New Mexico is also looking to make a statement of their own. Rounding out the field is Arizona State (B) and Grand Canyon (B) college golf club teams.
If not for Texas, the Southeast Region would be one of the most competitive in the country. Kicking off this weekend at Columbia Country Club in Columbia, South Carolina, the region welcomes back the University of South Carolina club golf team. After participating in the North Carolina Region in the Fall due to scheduling, the Gamecocks return to the region they call home.
Due to the switch by South Carolina, the Southeast Region has the distinction of featuring three teams that have been crowned regional champions in the past two seasons. Clemson (Spring 2015), Georgia (Fall 2015), and South Carolina (Fall 2015 in North Carolina). Clemson is coming off a successful performance at Nationals, where they finished third after grabbing the final wildcard spot. Georgia also is riding a wave of momentum from Nationals after finishing 14th. Along with Golf Academy-Myrtle Beach, four Southeast teams enter the season ranked in the Top 25 preseason rankings.
Joining the quartet of ranked teams will be Georgia Southern, College of Charleston, Furman, Citadel, Wofford (making their NCCGA debut), and South Carolina (B). The 83-player field will be one of the largest of the Spring season, and everyone can expect a competitive weekend of golf in South Carolina.
The results speak for themselves when talking about the Texas Region. A loaded field will start the season at The Golf Club at Texas A&M this weekend in College Station, Texas. The University of Texas club golf team are the defending National Champions, having emerged victorious at TPC San Antonio by 9-strokes.
Baylor finished in second at Nationals, and still include golfers from their Spring 2014 National Championship (not to mention Top 3 at Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 Nationals). The Golf Academy-Dallas won the region last semester after finishing first in both regional tournaments, narrowly finishing outside the Top 15 at Nationals.
Joining them will be Texas A&M, TCU, Southern Methodist, Texas State, Baylor (B), and individuals from Tarleton State, Abilene Christian, and Lone Star College System. Texas A&M will be hoping to take advantage of the first tournament being played on campus. The region grabbed two of the four wildcard spots available last season, and have three teams in the top 6 of the college golf preseason rankings.