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ETSU men's golf headed west for NCAA Regional play
Junior Rhys Davies qualified for the national championship last season as an individiual, but wants his teammates to join him in 2006.
Junior Rhys Davies qualified for the national championship last season as an individiual, but wants his teammates to join him in 2006.

Monday, May 08, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 8, 2006) - For the 11th-ranked ETSU men's golf team, the road to the NCAA Championships will take the Buccaneers west.

 

On Monday, the NCAA utilized a teleconference call to announce regional pairings for the east, central and west regions, which act as qualifiers for the NCAA Championships - the top 10 teams in each region make up the final field in the national tournament. For the first time, the Buccaneers - who earned their bid thanks to a strong national ranking - will play in a region other than the east, traveling to play in the NCAA West Regional May 18-20 at the Omni Tucson National Golf Club.

 

"I think with the selection process this year there is a lot more parity," said ETSU head coach Fred Warren, whose team has reached regional play 14 times since the NCAA instituted the format in 1989. "They shifted some really good teams like Florida, N.C. State and Alabama out west, while sending teams like UCLA and UNLV to the east region in Florida. It's a much more balanced field in every region. I think our guys are looking forward to playing in a different part of the country and on a tougher course."

 

The Bucs will also have the motivation of having just missed out on an NCAA Championship trip last season, when the team finished 13th in the east region after entering the final day of play in sixth. ETSU junior Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales), who is currently ranked fourth nationally, will lead a young ETSU squad into his second regional in as many years. Last season, Davies managed to qualify as an individual for the national tournament thanks to a second-place finish.

 

ETSU has a strong history of NCAA success, having reached regional play in 14 of the last 18 years, and having reached the NCAA Championship 14 times in the history of the program. In fact, the Bucs enjoyed national finishes as high as sixth in 1975, third in 1996 and ninth in 2001.

 

Warren said the team likes its chances in Tucson.

"We feel like we play better on tougher courses," Warren said. "We like that difficulty. This course has a lot of water, you have to be good with your driver and putter, and course management is important. If we play our game and play well, we should be OK."

 

The teams selected for the west region include (by seed): 1. Florida, 2. Arizona State, 3. Brigham Young, 4. East Tennessee State, 5. Baylor, 6. Alabama, 7. Arizona; 8. San Diego State, 9. North Carolina State, 10. Washington, 11. New Mexico (Mountain West Conference), 12. Stanford, 13. Houston, 14. Pepperdine, 15. Louisville, 16. Denver, 17. Santa Clara, 18. New Mexico State (Western Athletic Conference), 19. Fresno State, 20. UC-Irvine, 21. Nevada, 22. San Diego, 23. Cal Poly (Big West Conference), 24. Western Kentucky (Sun Belt Conference), 25. Loyola Marymount (West Coast Conference), 26. Jackson State (Southwestern Athletic Conference), and 27. Bucknell (Patriot League).  Individuals:  Graham DeLaet, Boise State; Dustin Pimm, Utah; Chadd Coco, Saint Mary's; Ryan Witz, Washington State; Ryan Wood, Long Beach State; and Derrick Whiting, Colorado State.

 

For more on ETSU men's golf and NCAA postseason play, visit ETSUBucs.com.