May 2, 2003
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
The Terps' men's golf team will be hoping to hear the words "University of Maryland" this Monday when the NCAA Golf Committee publicly announces the 81-team field for the upcoming NCAA Regionals.
For head coach Tom Hanna, an announcement including his Terps will mark the second straight season his squad has advanced to national postseason play. A year ago, Maryland advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 1999 and for the ninth time in school history.
This year's regionals, scheduled to take place at three sites across the country from May 15-17, will be contested at Auburn, Ala. (East), Manhattan, Kansas (Central) and Auburn, Wash. (West). Twenty-seven teams will make up each regional field. The top 10 teams at each regional earn the right to advance to the NCAA Championships, which are slated for May 27-30 in Stillwater, Okla.
Maryland closed out its regular season last week firmly entrenched as the No. 2 team in NCAA District II, which is expected to send four teams to regional play. Penn State is ranked No. 1, followed by Maryland, James Madison, Georgetown and Princeton.
In five spring non-conference tournaments, the Terps posted three top-three finishes (including a sudden-death loss at the Wofford Invitational) after overcoming a slow start caused in part by extreme weather conditions in the mid-Atlantic which hindered the team's ability to practice and play. Maryland's best finish of the spring campaign came at the Wofford Invitational, when it finished runner-up to UNC Wilmington, but the Terps' best scoring days came last weekend at a tournament hosted by Penn State, when Maryland posted a 54-hole score of two-under-par, including a season-best round of 277 (-11) on way to a third-place finish.
"This is part of the gameplan we put together a few years ago in changing to District II," said Hanna, whose squad is now vying for regional spots with teams from its own region. "We felt by making the switch [in district affiliation] we would advance to the regionals more often."
Should the Terps be selected for NCAA Regional play, Hanna says three of the six players in contention for his five-man lineup will have postseason experience in their bags. Returnees who competed in last year's NCAA Central Regional in Arkansas are junior Tim Kane, senior John Moheyer, and sophomore Bobby MacWhinnie.