May 18, 2000
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland seniors Gary Mankulish (Laurel, Md.) and Keith Unikel (Potomac, Md.) will represent the University of Maryland this week at the NCAA East Regional men's golf championships at Glenmaura National Golf Club in Moosic, Pa. Practice rounds take place on Wednesday, May 17. The 54-hole competition commences on Thursday, May 18 with the first of three 18-hole rounds.
Last season, Maryland reached the NCAA East Regional in Providence, R.I. where the Terps finished 17th out of 23 schools. In 2000, despite returning just two players from the '99 squad, Maryland played its best golf during the month of April - finishing third out of 19 teams at the Furman Intercollegiate and three weeks later earning top honors at the 10-team Wofford Invitational - but was given a snub by the NCAA selection committee despite national rankings of No. 53 by Golfstat and No. 57 by Golfweek. Maryland was the fourth-highest ranked school that was left out of the NCAA regionals while four other schools, due to automatic qualifications, were selected despite rankings above No. 200.
Had the Terps qualified as a team, it would have marked the first time since 1971 and 1972 that Maryland has reached NCAA competition in consecutive years.
"I'm disappointed that the team didn't make it," reflected ninth-year head coach and former Maryland golf alum Tom Hanna. "It's a tough break not to get in as a team, but I'm happy for Keith and Gary. They've obviously taken our program to another level during their four years and they both have a chance to advance to the finals. They are both strong players and it's the kind of course that they'll both play good on."
Hanna added, "It is through their leadership and strong performance this year, that we were in a position to even have a chance at being selected. They absolutely deserve the chance that they've been given to continue competing."
The senior tandem has carried the Terps all season. The duo has played together for four seasons on the College Park campus and last year helped Maryland to its first NCAA invitation since 1994. They were bidding to become the first duo in nearly 30 years of Maryland golf to play a part on two NCAA Tournament golf squads.
Unikel, regarded as the team's best and most consistent player while sporting a 72.20 stroke average, has been on fire in his last three tournaments. He took top individual honors at both the Furman and Wofford tournaments in April, and finished tenth at the ACC Championships in between his titles. He has shot six sub-par rounds in his last three tournaments, and combined for a 70.88 stroke average in those three outings. Last Thursday, Unikel became the first Maryland golfer ever to receive back-to-back all-conference honors in the talent-laden Atlantic Coast Conference. He also is a candidate for Academic All-America accolades with a 3.56 grade-point average in finance.
Mankulish, second to Unikel with a 72.90 stroke average, owns four top 10 finishes out of seven tournaments this spring and boasts an outside shot at All-ACC honors, himself. After besting Unikel in a one-hole playoff in U.S. Amateur qualifying last summer, Mankulish eventually advanced to the match-play round of 32 the U.S. Amateur in Pebble Beach, Calif. He and Unikel have been the mainstays of an otherwise very young Maryland team which, besides them, consists exclusively of first-year freshmen and sophomores.
Terps At a Glance
Maryland at NCAA East Regional
Date: May 18-20, 2000
Time: All Day
Site: Glenmaura National Golf Club (Moosic, Pa.)
Participants: Gary Mankulish (Sr.) and Keith Unikel (Sr.) as individuals chosen from District III North
Conference/District: Atlantic Coast Conference (District III North)
Head Coach: Tom Hanna (Maryland '71 / 9th season)
NCAA Individual Appearances: None
NCAA Team Appearances: 8 (1958, 1963, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1994, 1999)
Last Appearance: 1999 (East Regional, 17th of 23 at Providence, R.I.)
NCAA Titles: none
Highest NCAA Finish: 4th (1958)
Current Nat'l Rankings:
Golfstat - Team-53, Unikel-73, Mankulish-109
Golfweek/Sagarin - Team-57, Unikel-98, Mankulish-118
Maryland Men's Golf Spring 2000 Statistics