April 15, 2003
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
University of Maryland's men's golf team, which has improved its team finish in each of its last three tournaments, heads to North Carolina for the 50th annual ACC Golf Championships this weekend.
The 54-hole tournament will be contested at the Old North State Club at Uwharrie Point in Badin Lake, N.C. It is the second consecutive year and seventh time overall the tournament will be contested on the 7,100-yard, par 72 course.
The tournament will feature 18 holes of competition on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Georgia Tech, one of five nationally ranked teams in the nine-team field, is the defending champion. The Yellow Jackets are ranked 15th in the latest poll by Golfweek/Sagarin; other Top 25 teams include No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Wake Forest, No. 10 North Carolina and No. 16 NC State.
The Terps are entering the ACC Championships on a strong note, having tied for the team title at last weekend's Wofford Invitational before losing in a tiebreaker to UNC Wilmington. Junior Tim Kane, the team's scoring leader during both the fall and spring seasons, captured the individual crown with back-to-back 69s in the 36-hole tourney, finishing with a six-under 138.
Head coach Tom Hanna, whose team fought weather issues for most of the spring, feels his team is finally playing to its potential.
"We've dealt with a tough spring in terms of weather, but as we've been playing more the scores have started to come down," says Hanna, whose Terps are currently ranked No. 2 in their district with a solid shot at nailing down an NCAA Regional berth for the second straight year. "We took our lumps early, but slowly but surely we have started to play better since the weather broke. I can see some confidence in the players. We feel we can go down to the ACC Championships and play well. Every one of the players is capable of shooting under par."
Since opening the spring portion of their 2002-03 schedule with an 18th-place finish at the LSU Spring Invitational in late February, the Terps have made some significant strides, finishing eighth (out of 15) teams at the Palmetto Intercollegiate, third (of 18) at the William & Mary Invitational, and second (of 11) at the Wofford Invitational. Last fall, the Terps recorded one first-place (Temple Invitational) and two third-place finishes (The McLaughlin, James Madison Invitational).
Kane, a junior, brings a team-best 73.9 spring scoring average into the ACC Championships. At last weekend's Wofford Invitational, Kane shot back-to-back 69s to win the tournament title by five shots. He was joined in the top 10 by teammate John Eades, a true freshman who has been the Terps' top finisher in two of four spring outings. At the Wofford tournament, Eades carded rounds of 71-76 for a three-over-par 147. He shared 10th place with teammate Dan MacDonald, who shot 75-72.
Others expected to be in the Terps' five-man lineup this week include senior co-captain John Moheyer and either redshirt freshman Jeff Spradlin or sophomore Bobby MacWhinnie.
For the opening round of this weekend's tournament, the Terps will be paired with Wake Forest and Duke. Georgia Tech, Virginia and Clemson form another group, and NC State, North Carolina and Florida State round out the other pairing.
Following the ACC Championships, the Terps will play one final tournament when they compete in the Rutherford Invitational April 26-27.
Team selections to the NCAA Regionals will be announced Monday, May 5. Twenty-seven teams are selected to each of the three regionals. Thirty teams will advance to the NCAA Championships May 27-30 at Stillwater, Okla.