May 8, 2000
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The regular season has come to a close, and with the University of Maryland men's golf team playing its finest golf of the year, selection for the NCAA Regionals awaits.
As does history. While the Terps have been competitive in golf on many occasions, Maryland can set a pair of first-time milestones this week -- never has a Maryland golfer been named All-Atlantic Coast Conference in consecutive seasons, and never has a Maryland golf team been selected for back-to-back appearances in NCAA postseason competition.
The Terrapins, 17th in the East Regional last season in what was their eighth-ever NCAA postseason appearance, hope to secure a second straight trip to NCAA regional competition with the announcement of regional tournament fields on Tuesday, May 9. Impressive for the 2000 Terrapins is that a return to the NCAA appearance would be accomplished despite losing a trio of seniors from the 1999 squad. Senior leaders Keith Unikel (Potomac, Md.) and Gary Mankulish (Laurel, Md.) have carried a young team that is otherwise comprised of first-year freshmen and sophomores.
Unikel, All-ACC as a junior, was only the fourth Terrapin ever named to an All-ACC squad. He can be the first in history to repeat when the 2000 All-ACC team is announced on Friday, May 12.
Only in 1976 did Maryland ever place two members on the All-ACC squad. A Mankulish-Unikel double on the All-ACC squad would mark a second in school history.
NCAA Selection And Sites
Three regional tournaments, encompassing nine districts, will be conducted May 18-20. A total of 62 teams will be selected from district rankings, with 19 at-large selections completing the field. Top individuals from unselected teams will also be invited to compete.
Maryland, a member of District III North, would attend the East Regional at Moosic, Pa. if it is chosen among the top eight teams in its district. If the Terps are chosen as an at-large participant, they could participate at any of the East, Central or West region sites.
A minimum of eight teams and two individuals will advance from each regional to the NCAA Championship, conducted at Opelika, Ala., from May 31 to June 3.
Terps Win Wofford Invite, Unikel Wins Again
Keith Unikel won a one-hole playoff and captured his second individual title in three tournaments as Maryland outlasted a field of ten teams to capture top honors at the Wofford Invitational at Carolina Country Club. Among the teams beaten by the Terps on the way to the title were Golfweek top 30 teams August State (17) and Virginia (29).
Unikel shot 71-68-73--212 (-4) to win the event while Gary Mankulish shot three rounds of par 72 to finish fifth. It was the Terps' first team title since winning the Chattanooga Intercollegiate last fall.
Unikel Is No. 73 -- Terp Senior Is 10-Under Par In Last Three Tourneys
Pacing the Terps with a 72.20 stroke average, shooting three rounds of 68 recently, and six of his last nine rounds under par, Keith Unikel has risen to a No. 73 individual ranking among national contenders for the Golfstat Cup. Unikel has shot 70.88 and combined for a score of 10-under par while winning two of his last three tournaments:
Furman Intercollegiate 1st 73 68 68 209 -7 ACC Championships T10th 71 75 71 217 +1 Wofford Invitational 1st 71 68 73 212 -4
Academic All-America Candidate, Too
Keith Unikel has not only paced the Terrapins on the course during his junior and senior seasons, he has done in the classroom, as well. An All-ACC selection last spring with a team-best 72.33 stroke average, Unikel was a GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 1999. Similarly, Unikel will receive Academic All-America nomination again during his senior season. Honors are announced in June.