NCAA Championship preview

Texas A&M celebrates after winning the 2009 NCAA Golf Championships at Inverness Club.

Men's Rankings »

RankNameSchoolRating
1Patrick RodgersStanford  68.39 
2Robby SheltonAlabama  68.58 
3Ollie SchniederjansGA Tech  68.62 
4Cameron WilsonStanford  68.90 
5Joey GarberGeorgia  69.19 

Men's Team Rankings »

RankNameRatingEvents
1Alabama 68.96  12 
2Georgia Tech 69.62  12 
3Stanford 69.70  12 
4Oklahoma State 69.82  13 
5Georgia 69.82  12 

Complete coverage | Twitter: @collegegolf | Facebook: Lance Ringler’s College Golf Page



When: June 1-6

Where: Honors Course, Ooltewah, Tenn.

Who: Thirty teams will compete for the NCAA title. The top 10 teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings all qualified, as did 25 of the top 30.

Tee times: Click here.

The scoop: This is the second year the team match-play format will be used to determine the champion. The tournament will start with 54 holes of stroke play, which will determine the individual champion and the eight teams that will advance to match play. The teams will face off in five matches (Team A’s No. 1 vs. Team B’s No. 1, etc.). Each match is worth one point, with a half-point for a halved match.

No. 1 Oklahoma State will look to avoid a repeat of last year’s NCAA Championship. The Cowboys had a 13-shot lead after three rounds of stroke play at Inverness, but lost in the first round of match play to Georgia when Brian Harman birdied the final three holes of the teams’ final match to beat Rickie Fowler in an epic showdown (that’s right, Rickie Fowler was still playing college golf at this time last year. I know it’s hard to believe). The Cowboys are peaking as the NCAA Championship nears. After an erratic spring, they posted a 13-shot victory at the Big 12 Championship and a two-shot win at the NCAA Southeast Regional.

Who’s going to win?: The match-play format makes it difficult to pick a pre-tournament favorite, but the top teams in the nation are all playing well as the NCAA Championship nears.

Three of the top four teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings won regional titles (No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Washington and No. 4 Stanford). The lone exception was No. 2 Texas A&M, which finished second at the South Central Regional. The Aggies know something about this team match-play format, though. They won last year’s NCAA title, the first using the new format.

No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 3 Washington are two of three teams that enter the NCAA Championship after victories in their conference and regional tournaments. Oklahoma State won the Big 12 Conference and Southeast Regional, while Washington won the Pac-10 and West Regional.

The other? No. 41 Kent State. The Flashes, the fourth-lowest-ranked team in the field, won the MAC by 22 shots and tied for first with Texas in the East Regional. Kent State was the only team not from the Pac-10 or Big 12 to finish first at a regional.

Solo act: Georgia may have been the highest-ranked team not to advance to the Honors Course, but the Bulldogs’ Russell Henley, the No. 1 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, will represent the red and black. Henley is seeking to become the second consecutive player to win a conference, regional and national title in one season (Matt Hill, North Carolina State). Hill, who is turning pro, will not have a chance to defend his title. He tied for 11th at the Central Regional, one shot away from a playoff for the regional’s individual berth. ... UC Irvine’s John Chin, the No. 2 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, finished ninth at the Southwest Regional, but did not advance to the championship. Three other top-10 players won’t be at the Honors Course – No. 4 Bud Cauley (Alabama), No. 6 Jonathan Randolph (Mississippi) and No. 8 Harris English (Georgia). The other top-10 players that will tee it up at the Honors Course: No. 3 Nick Taylor (Washington), No. 5 Patrick Reed (Augusta State), No. 7 Andrea Pavan (Texas A&M), No. 8 David Chung (Stanford) and No. 10 Diego Velasquez (Oregon State).

Short shots: Of the five top-30 teams that failed to qualify, three were from the SEC (No. 13 Georgia, No. 18 South Carolina and No. 30 Alabama). No. 25 San Diego State and No. 28 Colorado State also failed to advance. Georgia had been to the NCAA finals 12 consecutive years. ... The Honors Course was site of the 1996 NCAA Championship. Tiger Woods won his only NCAA title that year, and Arizona State won the team title. Woods finished four shots ahead of Arizona’s Rory Sabbatini, despite a final-round 80. “Things started to slip away quickly,” Woods said. “... It’s not like I gave up and shot 80. I really dug deep.” Woods was the only player to finish under par for 72 holes. The scoring average was 77.6 strokes per round. The Sun Devils won the team title with a 34-over-par total.

TEAMS

  • Oklahoma State (1)
  • Texas A&M (2)
  • Washington (3)
  • Stanford (4)
  • Augusta State (5)
  • Florida (6)
  • Texas (7)
  • UCLA (8)
  • Oregon (9)
  • USC (10)
  • Texas Tech (11)
  • Illinois (12)
  • Clemson (14)
  • UNLV (15)
  • Arizona State (16)
  • Georgia Tech (17)
  • Florida State (19)
  • TCU (20)
  • North Florida (21)
  • Virginia (22)
  • Duke (23)
  • Oregon State (24)
  • Tennessee (26)
  • California (27)
  • LSU (29)
  • San Diego (31)
  • Kent State (41)
  • Baylor (49)
  • Georgia Southern (56)
  • Penn State (60)

INDIVIDUALS:

  • Russell Henley, Georgia (1)
  • Espen Kofstad, Denver (41)
  • Robbie Fillmore, BYU (59)
  • Rhys Enoch, ETSU (60)
  • Nick Delio, Cal St.-Northrdige (143)
  • Marshall Bailey, Virginia Tech (206)
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