Colorado men’s coach Roy Edwards got the call this week that a late individual spot had opened in an NCAA regional. He was happy to accept a consolation prize after his team did not get an at-large bid. Edwards figured that senior Kevin Kring, the Buffaloes’ No. 1 player, would get an unexpected chance to extend his season in the South Central Regional.
Except that he won’t.
That invitation, which became available when Vanderbilt’s Adam Hofmann pulled out because of a hip injury that will require surgery this month, went to Colorado’s Derek Fribbs instead.
The NCAA Men’s Golf Championship Committee selected Fribbs. However, Kring’s 72.88 stroke average this year compared with Fribbs’ 73.26. In the Buffs’ 10 tournaments in which both played, Kring had a 6-4 won-loss advantage and edged his teammate by eight strokes. Kring posted two top-5 finishes for the Buffs; Fribbs’ season best was a tie for eighth.
Golfweek ranks Kring, a senior from Springfield, Mo., at No. 298; Fribbs, a junior from Castle Rock, Colo., is No. 324.
Edwards was diplomatic, saying, “Kevin and Derek had solid years.”
“We are excited to have Derek compete. He is very deserving, and we expect him to play well.”
This sort of issue regarding an at-large pick is not unprecedented in men’s golf. Last year, Maryland’s John Popeck was an at-large pick based on his national ranking, despite the fact that he had left the team after the fall season because of personal reasons. Also, Idaho’s Jarred Bossio was selected for the NCAA regionals ahead of teammate Damian Telles, despite Bossio’s having been the No. 2 player behind Telles for the Vandals.
The 54-hole regional at The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky., one of six sites nationally, will be played May 17-19. The top five teams and low individuals from a nonqualifying team will advance to the May 29-June 3 NCAA Championship at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.