Preview: Men’s golf heads to Baton Rouge looking to qualify for NCAA Championships
The Oregon men’s golf team will compete in the three-day Baton Rouge Regional beginning Monday.
If the Ducks finish in the top-five of the regionals, they will advance to participate in the NCAA Championships with a chance to repeat as national champions. The NCAA Championships are held in Sugar Grove, Illinois on May 26-31.
The Ducks tee off at 6 a.m. Pacific Time on Monday. The starting five they will use for the regionals is led by the duo of No. 1 collegiate golfer, Wyndham Clark and No. 6 Norman Xiong. Sophomores Edwin Yi and Ryan Gronlund, as well as freshman Kevin Geniza round out the starting lineup for the Ducks.
Clark became the first Pac-12 medalist for the Ducks since 1978. He was named Pac-12 Golfer of the Year, and a finalist for the Ben Hogan Award, given to the nation’s top college golfer. The winner will be announced May 22.
Xiong was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was selected to participate on the 10-member 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup American team. Clark and Xiong were both selected as semifinalists for the 2017 Division I Jack Nickalus National Player of the Year award. Finalists will be announced May 25. Gronlund and Yi were named as All-Pac-12 Second Team. The Ducks are coached by the 2017 Coach of the Year Casey Martin.
The Ducks are the No. 2 seed (No. 7 ranked overall) in the regional, with host the Louisiana State University Tigers (No. 6 ranked overall) the top seed in the regional. The Ducks are the only Pac-12 team represented in Baton Rouge. Also, participating in the regional is: Virginia, Duke, Northwestern, Arkansas, Jacksonville, Kentucky, South Florida, Iowa, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Loyola-Maryland and Alabama State.
In addition to Clark and Xiong, Sam Burns of LSU is the only other golfer ranked in the top-15 individually participating in this regional. Clark averages a score of 69.56 per round, with Burns just .09 behind. Xiong averages a score of 70.53 per round.
Day two of the event will tee off at 6 a.m. and the three-day event concludes Wednesday with a tee time of 5:30 a.m.
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter: @zlast3445