May 11, 2000
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - On Tuesday, Keith Unikel (Potomac, Md.) was selected to represent Maryland at the NCAA East Regional for men's golf. On Thursday, the Maryland senior became the first Terrapin golfer ever to earn all-conference distinction in consecutive seasons. Unikel was selected among 13 other top players in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which included four players from Clemson and two each from Georgia Tech and NC State.
Unikel, who will compete with teammate Gary Mankulish (Laurel, Md.) at next week's NCAA regional competition at Glenmaura National Golf Club in Moosic, Pa., led Maryland with a 72.20 stroke average this season. Last year, as a junior, he led Maryland with a 72.33 clip while becoming the first Terrapin golfer to draw All-ACC honors since 1994. He also was a GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District pick a year ago while guiding the Terps to their first NCAA appearance since '94, and this spring has been nominated for Academic All-America honors again, sporting a 3.56 grade-point average in finance.
Two summers ago, Unikel became the youngest champion ever at the Maryland State Open Championship. Since then, he and Mankulish have teammed to guide the Terps to two of their finest seasons ever. Though ranked among the top 60 teams in the country at season's end, Maryland was denied a chance to qualify for NCAA competition in back-to-back seasons for what would have been the first time in nearly 30 years (1971-72). Instead, Unikel and Mankulish will compete as the top individuals chosen from District III North.
The two lowest-scoring individuals, whose teams do not advance, will advance to the NCAA championship finals conducted May 31 to June 3 at Grand National Golf Course at Opelika, Ala.
Speaking of both Unikel and Mankulish, Maryland head golf coach Tom Hanna said earlier this week, "Through their leadership and strong performance this year, they put us in a position to even have a chance at being selected to NCAA competition. They absolutely deserve the chance that they've been given to continue competing."
Unikel, regarded as the team's best and most consistent player, 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.