May 6, 2002
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland men's golf team earned selection to the 81-team 2002 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships field and will compete in the Central Regional, the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Committee announced tonight. Maryland, the 22nd seed in the Central, will play May 16-18 at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock, Ark. (Arkansas, Little Rock, host). The top 10 teams and two individuals from each regional will advance to the championship finals May 29-June 1 at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.
The Terps earned their first NCAA Championships berth since 1999 by finishing as the second-ranked team in the NCAA's Mid-Atlantic District II. Gaining one of the district's four automatic berths caps off a 2001-02 season in which the Terps claimed two tournament victories and top-six showings in nine of 12 tournaments, including all five fall tournaments. The Terps also boasted District II's top-ranked individual and all-Atlantic Coast Conference Team candidate with a 72.07 stroke average, senior Corey Brigham, as well as one of the ACC's top freshmen, Bobby MacWhinnie (73.56 stroke average and three top-10 finishes in the spring).
"I think it's a good reward for the guys," coach Tom Hanna said. "They had an outstanding fall, probably the best fall we've ever had as a golf program. Coming out of the spring, we didn't play what I thought we were capable of playing, but in our last three tournaments we had some good numbers and I'm excited about it. The boys have worked hard."
The NCAA selected eight of the Atlantic Coast Conference's nine teams to the championships. Maryland and North Carolina State are the only two ACC teams to be paired outside of the East Regional, as both teams were selected to the Central Regional. Among District II teams, St. John's joins Maryland in the Central while Penn State and William and Mary were selected to the East.
Success against a strong national schedule may have been the reason for the Terps' move to the Central. Against the three districts that primarily make up the Central Regional - District III-South, District IV and District V - the Terps have a combined 23-10-1 record in 2001-02.
"Going to the Central Regional was kind of a surprise to me; I thought for sure that we'd be in the East," Hanna said. "I think a lot had to do with our record against the region because with that winning record, they tried to strengthen the field by moving us over there.
"I really am excited. The Central is where I wanted to go; I didn't think we were going to get there, but we have a chance. We've played a lot of these teams in that region, and not to say that we're going to beat all of these teams every time, but we know we can do the job. But we have beaten some of these teams, which I think will really help us."
With a team scoring average of 290.29 over its last seven rounds, Maryland is playing its best golf of the spring at the right time. And with the experience of having played against 14 of the regional's other 26 teams, the Terps have an opportunity to advance to Columbus.
"I told our guys, we have a shot at the national championship," Hanna said. "If we play well and play mistake-free, there's no telling how far we can go or what we can do."
CENTRAL REGIONAL Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock, Arkansas Hosted by University of Arkansas, Little Rock.
Teams (seeded in the following order): 1. TCU (C-USA champion) 2. North Carolina State 3. Oklahoma State 4. Virginia Tech (Big East) 5. Oklahoma 6. Toledo (MAC) 7. Purdue 8. Lamar (Southland) 9. Baylor 10. Alabama 11. LSU 12. Tulsa (WAC) 13. Kansas 14. Southern Methodist 15. Illinois 16. Houston 17. Missouri 18. Colorado 19. Texas-Arlington 20. Northwestern 21. Arkansas State 22. Maryland 23. St. John's (New York) 24. Austin Peay State (Ohio Valley) 25. Princeton (Ivy) 26. Army (Patriot) 27. Jackson State (SWAC)
Individuals: 1. Gibby Martens, Texas-San Antonio 2. John Holmes, Kentucky 3. Erik Herberth, Ohio 4. David Jenkins, Southwest Missouri State 5. Adrian Mork, McNeese State 6. Aaron Watkins, Kansas State