May 4, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
The Florida State University men’s golf team, which is currently ranked 26th nationally in the GolfStat Cup rankings, was selected to participate in the 2009 NCAA Regional Championship at the Red Tail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla., May 14-16. The Seminoles were one of 81 teams at six different regional sites who will compete to advance to the NCAA Championship at the Inverness Country Club in Toledo, Oh., May 27-30.
The Seminoles’ appearance in the NCAA Tournament marks the first time the men’s golf program has made four consecutive NCAA appearances since the 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983 seasons. Florida State played in a school record seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 1977 through 1983.
The Seminoles have been selected to play in a regional championship for the fourth consecutive season under head coach Trey Jones. Prior to the Seminoles appearing in the last four NCAA Tournaments and Jones’ arrival for the 2004 season, Florida State had played in only one NCAA tournament from 1998-2006. The Seminoles have played in four regional championships in Jones’ six seasons as Florida State’s head coach and director of golf operations.
“We are very excited to be playing in the NCAA Tournament in our home state,” said head coach Trey Jones. “We know from previous years experiences and from the overall parity in Division I golf that we are going to have to play great golf to advance. We are going to need all five golfers to play well; we will have a hard time getting out of the regional if only two or three of our guys play well.”
Jones will make his ninth regional championship as a head coach. He took four of his seven teams at Georgia State to the regional championships and has now taken four of his first six Florida State teams to postseason play.
Florida State enters the NCAA East Regional championship with an experienced lineup that has played in a combined eight regional championships during their careers. Senior Matt Savage (Louisville, Ky.) has played in three career regional championships while juniors Seath Lauer (Huntington, Ind.) and Cameron Knight (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) have made two previous regional appearances. Sophomore Drew Kittleson (Scottsdale, Ariz.) has played in one regional championship during his career. Freshman Brooks Koepka (Wellington, Fla.) is the only member of the Seminoles’ starting line-up that will make his NCAA tournament debut at Red Tail.
“We all need to play our best golf of the season to advance to the championship finals,” said Savage. “We found our last year that we have to be focused, work hard and compete from the first tee of the first round in order to advance. It’s is all up to us – we are all capable of playing well and moving on. We have to go out and perform over three days next week.”
Florida State earned seven top 10 finishes this year and won the team championship at the Florida State Spring Break Invitational. The Seminoles finished in a tie for third place at the Callaway Match Play Championship and finished in fourth place at both the Brickyard Collegiate Championship during the fall season and at the Gator Invitational during the spring season.
One of the individual highlights for the Seminole players came during the month of April when Kittleson played in the prestigious Master’s Championship at Augusta. Despite missing the cut, he totaled an even par 72 and earned two eagles during his second round of play.
Savage, Florida State’s senior captain, will become the Seminoles’ first senior since the 1983 season to play in four consecutive NCAA Championship tournaments. He has played in three NCAA regional championships and one NCAA Championship during his career. Savage led the Seminoles to the 2008 ACC Championship – the first ACC golf championship in school history.
Florida State finished in 21st place in the team standings at the 2008 NCAA West Regional Championship on the Olympic Course at the Golf Mountain Golf Course. The Seminoles were led in the individual standings by senior All-American Jonas Blixt who finished in a tied for 30th place. Neither the Seminoles as a team nor Blixt as an individual qualified to advance to the NCAA Championship finals.
Six 54-hole regional tournaments will be conducted to determine the 30 qualifying teams and six individuals not on those qualifying teams who will compete in the championship finals. Thirteen teams and ten individuals not on those teams will compete at each of three regionals (Austin, Tex., Daly City, Cal., Stillwater, Okla.) while the other three regionals (Galloway, N.J., Sorrento, Fla., Bowling Green, Ky.) will have fourteen teams and five individuals not on those teams. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams will advance to the finals.
Red Tail Regional Teams: Georgia (Southeastern Conference Champion), Indiana, South Carolina, Central Florida (Conference USA Champion), Florida State, Arizona, Augusta State, Kentucky, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Iowa, Charlotte (Atlantic 10 Conference Champion), Campbell (Atlantic Sun Conference Champion)
Loyola (Maryland) (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Champion) (teams listed in order of seeds)