NCCGA National Championship AND The Masters?!? What a great weekend to be a golfer. The cold winter that plagued the teams in the Northeast seems to finally be in the rearview mirror. The Azaleas are in full bloom in Augusta. Dozens of college golf teams from around the country will be finishing their NCCGA Regional play in hopes of punching their ticket to the spring NCCGA National Championship at Bryan Park, NC. Here's a Preview of the 24 regions hosting tournaments on Saturday and Sunday:
Ohio State, Cincinnati, Dayton, Xavier, Miami, and Ohio University are playing this weekend at Shaker Run Golf Club in Lebanon, OH. Results from first Regional leave Cincinnati in first place, Dayton in second and Ohio State in third.
"Coming off their first Ohio Valley victory, Cincinnati looks to continue their hot streak at Shaker Run Golf Club in Lebanon, Ohio. However, The Buckeyes and Flyers look to make it difficult for the Bearcats once again on Saturday. Expect low-scoring and a tight race for medalist and team champions." - Josh Rinear, Regional Coordinator
This weekend there will be teams from Catholic University of America, Georgetown, UMD - College Park competing at the RedGate Golf Course in Rockville, MD.
According to Regional Coordinator Chris Coughlan, Towson and UMD are the teams most likely to upset Georgetown. With warmer weather this tournament, scores should be better which will make for a close finish.
"With the snow finally gone and the first regional cancelled, the pressure is on to qualify for nationals," says Jackson Walsh, Regional Coordinator from Boston College. "Teams have been working hard to hone their games for this shortened spring season. Last year Boston College completed the most dominant semester in New England Region history. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles respond to tougher competition in 2015."
The teams competing this weekend will be Boston College, Babson College, Bentley University, Fisher College, Harvard University, Holy Cross, and an individual from UMass-Boston. They will be playing at Blissful Meadows GC in Uxbridge, MA.
Northern New England
Like the Northeast, the Northern NE region had their first tournament cancelled. That means this weekend will be have a winner-take-all atmosphere. They two will be competing at Blissful Meadows, but will be teeing off after the New England schools.
Perennial power-houses Northeastern, and UNH anticipate a race to the finish, but Maine, Umass Amherst, and new comer Plymouth State will have something to say about that. Individual Mike Murphy from Keene State will round out the field.
This weekend, teams from UCF, UF, Keiser, FSU, and GAA-Orlando as well as individuals from FGCU, FAU, and FIT will battle it out. The 2nd regional will be held at Windermere Country Club in Windermere Florida.
The first regional tournament was a tie between Florida and Golf Academy of America-Orlando, with GAA winning the sixth-man tiebreaker. Keiser was third.
Regional Coordinator Bill Morrison gives us the insider about this weekend. He says, "With University of Florida and Golf Academy of America - Orlando ranked 3rd and 4th in the nation respectively, it should be an exciting tournament. Windermere Country Club is playing tough but getable. I expect to see some low rounds this weekend and another close finish come Sunday."
Iowa State, Iowa, and Minnesota will be playing in the Twin Cities Regional. Iowa State won the first regional and hopes to keep their win streak alive. However, this tournament is evenly matched and will be close at Wedgewood Cove in Albert Lea, MN.
Iowa State has a chance to clinch their first Nationals birth with a win this weekend. Iowa has the experience with most of their roster returning this semester. Should come down to the wire in Minnesota
The Colonial Region travels to Packsaddle Ridge Golf Club in Keezletown, VA. Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, James Madison, and Old Dominion will square off. Here are the results from the last tournament: 1st VT, 2nd UVA, 3rd JMU.
"I'm excited to see if my team, Virginia Tech, can maintain their lead after the first Regional and hold on for nationals," Says Regional Coordinator Ryan Walker. The question everyone wants answered is will UVA make a push to beat their instate rivals? Or will VA Tech pull of another win.
This week the teams competing are SLU (A&B), Mizzou (A&B), and SEMO. Individuals from UMKC, Truman State, and KU will play as well.
Because Mizzou A receives an automatic bid to nationals to defend their title, a second team will be represented from this region too. Right now SLU and Mizzou B are in a tight race for that second qualifier spot. SLU has the slight advantage as they placed second in the first regional where Mizzou B placed third.
ASU and New Mexico will go head to head this weekend at the renowned Championship Golf Course At University of New Mexico.
Although the field is smaller than usual, expect good competition, says Andrew Slonski, regional coordinator. Both teams have skilled players who can go low. This tournament is also on the nationally recognized University of New Mexico's home course.
The second North Regional will feature the same field as the first, but with a few additionally teams. UW-Green Bay and the Marquette Women's team will be making their season debut. Lawsonia Links Course, ranked as the #3 course in Wisconsin by Golfweek, will play host this weekend. The Wisconsin Badgers won the first regional by 50 strokes over their own B team. Look for the Badgers to continue their dominance of the North Region this weekend and punch their ticket to NCCGA Nationals.
The Midwest region will be packed this weekend. All 8 teams have full rosters and are
ready to showcase their talent. During first regional tournament, Michigan State took first place while the University of Michigan finished close behind. Ferris State University came in solo third place.
Regional Coordinator Payden Myers said: "We are excited to Eagle Eye Golf Club located in East Lansing Michigan. Eagle Eye premieres a replica hole of number 17 at TPC Sawgrass (The Island Green). This is something all the teams are looking forward too, seeing as we all have grown up watching the professionals play that hole and now we get a shot at it. Should definitely be good time to hear how players played the hole."
Teams competing this weekend will be Villanova, U Delaware, Rowan, and St. Joe's. The first tournament was won by Villanova, so they have the advantage at the bid for Nationals. Delaware finished second and St. Joseph's took third, so they will attempt to outplay Villanova to receive the bid.
"Spring Hollow in Spring City, PA will be a good test for our players. I'm looking forward to seeing how the battle between Villanova and Delaware plays out over the weekend. With a longer course, and warmer weather, we will see how it affects all of the teams' scores." - Ryan Liberty, Regional Coordinator
Winter storms called for a cancelation of the first tournament in the Northeast Region. With that being said,this will be a winner-take-all situation. This weekend the tournament will be played at Mill Creek Golf Club in Churchville, NY. Competing will be SUNY Brockport, University of Buffalo, and the defending region champions, SUNY Cortland.
Alex Rosato, RC, is used to the weather troubles of playing up north. He says, “This region has struggled to get in two regionals a semester because of weather, which always makes for some good old fashion rivalries, and intense golf.”
Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Robert Morris, Akron, and Case Western will be competing this weekend for the big to Nationals. Pittsburgh, who won the first regional tournament will see if they can win again at Tam O'Shanter Golf Course in Canton, Ohio. Penn State, and Robert Morris look to stop Pitt in their tracks.
The Atlantic Region is growing, and RC Sam Wotus said this about this weekend: "While we are excited by old rivalries between Pitt and Penn State, we're really excited to have Case Western joining the region. It's always great to get a new team to compete. The Atlantic Region is hoping this creates new competition in a growing region."
The Great Lakes takes to the #1 ranked club golf course the year in Harborside International in Chicago. Four teams will be teeing it up this weekend. ISU A and B are hoping to finish 1st and 2nd once again, while Bradley and the University of Chicago are looking to assert their powers as well.
This upcoming weekend CU Boulder, and University of Northern Colorado will be playing at Antler Creek Golf Course in Peyton, CO. Last week CU took first and Northern Colorado took second.
"Being a new region the mountain region has a lot of potential to grow and expand over the next year. Many people don't know that the teams we have playing can get two teams together from their school to play in our tournaments, so we may be sending teams to Nationals soon. I'm excited to see where our region can go in such a small amount of time." -Grant Vanek, RC
Vanek has done a great job promoting golf in the Mountain Region.
Shadow Glen Golf Club in Manor, TX will host the final showdown in Texas. Baylor, GAA - Dallas, Texas A&M, TCU, University of Texas will see who will make their last stand. GAA- Dallas put on a showcase in the first tournament, but they would be out-shined by Baylor, who won by seven strokes. Needless to say, the two schools are in for a duel.
Carson Stepler is happy with the direction the region is going and thinks the Texas representative at Nationals could very well go on to be crowned champion.
Even though Indiana is a new region, it has not disappointed. Purdue, Notre Dame, Ball State will test their iron play on a relaxing, yet challenging Cherry Hill Golf Club in Fort Wayne, IN. Purdue won the first tournament handily, but that doesn't mean that the tournament will be a cake walk.
The South Region, may be one of the most competitive regions in the country. The first tournament highlighted a narrow win by Alabama who held onto a one stroke victory over Tennessee, and eleven over Auburn. The region will get after it again at Indian Trace Golf Course in Chatsworth, GA. The bid to Nationals is up for grabs. We will just have to wait until Sunday to see who takes home the win!
Ozark's first tournament may have included the seasons biggest upset thus far. Arkansas Tech, in just their second season, have started to turn heads. With an impressive win, Arkansas Tech defeated Oklahoma State, who is a notorious favorite each semester. Eagle Crest Golf Course in Alma, AR will host quite the match-up. Can Arkansas Tech hold on for their first regional title? If they do, will Oklahoma State sneak into Nationals with a wild-card bid? Only time will tell. However, don't sleep on the Sooners as Oklahoma is waiting to make their move.
The Metro Region is still in its infancy, but that doesn't mean it is any less competitive than the other regions. The first tournament at Beaver Brook Country Club headlined a surprising upset of Rutgers by Lafayette who won by an impressive 15 strokes. The competition will continue this weekend Water Gap Country Club in Delaware Water Gap, PA.
The weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday has favorable conditions, which will allow players to get in a groove. We will see if Rutgers has what it takes to make a come back or if Lafayette can hold onto their bid for Nationals. Montclair State, however, is lurking in the shadows. Regional Coordinator, Demi Delia, thinks that the region is up for grabs. Anyone can win.
Southern New England
Similar to the rest of the Northeast portion of the country, Southern New England courses were plagued by a harsh winter. The first tournament at Lyman Orchards was unfortunately cancelled due to snow, but the teams are ready to get on the course. With tournament two taking place at Exeter Country Club in Exeter, RI, several New England schools switched regions.
Southern New England has seen an impressive growth this season as Sacred Heart, Marist, and University of Rhode Island joined the NCCGA this season. They will join Providence, Brown, Southern Connecticut, and Central Connecticut in the pursuit of Nationals. The field is rounded out with individuals from Yale and Albertus Magnus. Joe Catalina, regional coordinator, is excited about the added pressure from a one tournament qualifier.
After an impressive NCCGA debut, the University of Oregon took home first place. This weekend, Oregon will take their talents to Horn Rapids Golf Club in Richland, WA to see if they can hold on to their first bid to Nationals.
University of Idaho, Central Washington, and Eastern Washington will have a lot to say about that. Each certainly has the skill and depth to beat Oregon in the 2nd regional tournament.
North Carolina State narrowly defeated East Carolina in the first tournament by six strokes. High Point University, Duke and the Men's and Women's Wake Forest teams finished not far behind. This weekend the teams will compete at Crooked Creek Golf Club in Fuquay Varina, NC. NC State hopes to punch their ticket to near by Bryan Park. The other teams in the region will do their best to compete for the region title.
National Invite Announcement
Official invitations for the Spring 2015 NCCGA National Championship will be sent out after all the tournaments have been completed. There will be automatic bids for teams that won their regions (if the regions had four teams competing in each regional tournament) and wild card bids as well. Also, the top 16 individuals from non-qualifying teams will be invited to play in the Championship.
Thank you for finishing this marathon of a tournament preview, and we'll see you in North Carolina.
**Jack Stephens is the NCCGA Director of Communications. Contact him with any breaking stories leading up to Nationals firstname.lastname@example.org