TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – The 10th-ranked and second-seeded Florida State Men’s Golf team prepares for its 11th consecutive NCAA Regional from May 16-18 as it travels to Kohler, Wis., to take on its 12 counterparts in the field as well as the Blackwolf Run Meadow Valleys Course.
A low-five finish among the 13 teams in the field guarantees advancement to the NCAA Championship that takes place in Eugene, Ore., from May 27-June 1. The NCAA finals will be played at Eugene Country Club. Last season, FSU finished third in the Chapel Hill Regional and ultimately ended 11th in the NCAA Championship.
“I don’t mind saying that we’ve prepared for this all season long,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “While we’re at tournaments we evaluate ourselves as if it were a regional field. This is the one time where if you don’t perform you’re done. I feel like we’re in a good spot right now, but we’re going to a difficult place to play against some real good teams. We’re going to have to execute.”
The participating institutions aside from FSU include No. 1 seed Illinois, No. 3 Florida, Arkansas (4), Baylor (5), Penn State (6), Memphis (7), Kent State (8), UCLA (9), East Tennessee State (10), Campbell (11), Idaho (12) and South Dakota State (13).
FSU won Illinois’ host tournament earlier in the year at the Olympia Fields Invitational, and has played in several competitive tournaments that include UF in the field. While placing among the low five is one of the primary goals, FSU will seek its first NCAA Regional title as well.
Come regional play on Monday, the weather forecast projects temperatures to be in the low 50’s with 10-15 miles per hour winds by tee time. FSU looks to use some of its experience in helping grind through the elements.
“Rowin (Caron) and Hank (Lebioda) have played in three straight regionals and advanced three straight times,” Jones added. “They know exactly what it’s going to take up there. The two juniors behind them, they’ve had success, and for Corey (Carlson) this will be his first time out. I think they’ll be fine.”
The Seminoles’ lineup includes Lebioda (9:44 a.m. Monday tee time), Caron (9:22 a.m.), redshirt junior Cristobal Del Solar (9:33 a.m.), junior Josh Lee (9 a.m.) and freshman Corey Carlson (9:11 a.m.). Lebioda was named the ACC Player of the Year while along making the All-ACC Team alongside Del Solar.
Lebioda has played in 131 career rounds, the fifth-most in program history. The senior expects to pass former players Drew Kittleson (fourth – 132), Brooks Koepka (third – 133) and tie Matt Savage (second – 134) by the end of the regional. Former Seminole Jonas Blixt is the career holder with 138 rounds played from 2005-08.
Lebioda also needs just seven birdies to match the school career record of 454 held by Koepka, as he has 447 total.
Caron’s experience with FSU figures to play a big role too. He has six rounds this year in the 60’s and leads the Seminoles with an average score of 3.10 on par 3 holes.
Del Solar’s outstanding season includes career-bests in average score (71.67), average vs. par (0.56), par or better rounds (14) as well as rounds in the 60s (7). Lee holds an average score of 73.04 in 24 rounds while Carlson averages 73.06.
Live stats to the NCAA Regional can be found on Golfstat.com.