Written By: Travis Richardson | @travis_richson
Whether Mother Nature liked it or not, the Spring 2016 NCCGA season kicked off in 20 regions this past weekend. In addition, there were 4 regions playing their second tournament of the season, with a Nationals bid on the line. The only problem? Snow, wind, cold, lightning, and even hail.
Three tournaments were completely called off due to weather (North, Midwest, and New England). Those regions will play a 1-tournament qualifier this weekend to determine which team will head to Nationals.
Metro, Northern New England, Indiana, Great Lakes, and Atlantic all had one round cancelled due to weather. Those regions played 18-holes, and therefore those tournaments became 18-hole events. This doesn't affect Nationals or wildcard rankings, and all regions will hold its second regional this weekend.
Finally, 16 regions were able to play a full 36-hole tournament and take their first (or last) step to the NCCGA National Championship. Here's a quick rundown of the regions and where they stand heading into the final weekend. Check out the NCCGA Team and Player Rankings through this week.
West Virginia University won the weather-shortened Atlantic Regional #1, narrowly edging out Robert Morris University by a mere two strokes. Luke Liberatore of Kent State took home medalist honors (73), and WVU was led by three players on the All-Tournament team. Kent State and Pittsburgh finished in third, with Kent State earning the tiebreaker. WVU heads into the second tournament with some momentum, as the winner of this region will have home-course advantage at The Resort at Glade Springs.
The Towson club golf team had struggled the past couple seasons with breaking free of the pack. They'd finished in 2nd four times, and 3rd twice since the Fall 2014 semester. Consider their struggle OVER. The Tigers rolled by 16-strokes over the field in the first Capitol Region tournament of the season. Maryland (A) finished in second, followed by Maryland (B) in third. American's Joseph Fagnani (160) edged out Towson's Ryan Flanigan for medalist honors by one stroke.
Missouri had reason to sweat after Round 1. The defending regional champs only led by three-strokes over St. Louis, led by Tanner Rabb and Andrew Weisenborn's 78. But the Tiger took control on Day 2 to win by 34 strokes over the field. David Lee-Tolley earned medalist honors. Missouri was led by Dillon Eaton's 161 for the event.
Shout-out to Pittsburg State on making their NCCGA debut. Formerly the varsity team, the team is competing in the NCCGA this semester after the school cut the golf program.
DePaul club golf emerged victorious in a weather-shortened Great Lakes region, defeating Illinois State and bringing their winning streak in regionals to a close (but just barely). DePaul edged out ISU by three strokes after Round 1 was cancelled due to snow. ISU's Austin Haven, the defending NCCGA National Champion, buried a long birdie putt on the first playoff hole to earn medalist. Haven's defeated Bradley's Judson Bro and Loyola-Chicago's Leopoldo Moreno de la cova. DePaul was led by Adam Gracik and Patrick Mullaney's 77.
Originally scheduled for March 12/13, the rain forced the Gulf Region to play their first regional tournament this weekend in New Orleans. Louisiana Tech (A) defeated Tulane by a single-stroke to take home their first regional tournament title. They were led by medalist Thomas Bates' 157, and Tulane was led by Andrew Polites' 166.
After Round 1 was called off due to weather (mostly gale force winds), the Indiana University-Bloomington emerged victorious on Day 2 by 14-strokes over Notre Dame. Zach Stark's fired an even-par round of 72 to take home medalist honors.
The tournament was played at the Legends Golf Club in Indiana. Ted Bishop, the course's Director of Golf and former President of the PGA, had this to say about the 60+ MPH windy conditions. “On Saturday, the wind here was stronger than the winds I experienced in 2010 that forced play to be suspended at the Open Championship at St. Andrews."
Dealing with a lightning delay, and a cancelled Round 2, the Metro Region was able to finish 18-holes on Saturday to have an official tournament. Fairfield University put up a team score of 395, narrowly defeating Southern Connecticut State by four strokes, to earn their first regional tournament title. Joe Santullo of Sacred Heart earned medalist honors with a 74.
An upset in the Mountain Region. In their first NCCGA tournament, the Denver club golf team pulled off the victory, taking down CSU-Fort Collins and Colorado-Boulder. Ben Molnar of CO-Boulder finished as medalist at 145 (+1). The 29-stroke victory puts Denver in the driver's seat for a bid to Nationals next week in the second tournament.
The East Carolina club golf team had some ground to make up after Round 1, trailing NC State by 12 strokes. They did just that and more in Round 2, shooting a team-score of 385 to win the tournament by four strokes over NC State. Zac Lewis earned medalist honors with a 149, followed by Logan Wynne and Nolan Wyatt of ECU at 152. Campbell finished in third, making their return to the NCCGA.
The Florida club golf team went low this weekend, defeating Florida State on their home turf. As a team UF finished -3 the first round, and +7 after two rounds. The new #1 team in the nation finished 8-strokes ahead of Golf Academy of America-Orlando, with Florida State finishing in third. The Spring 2015 champions will look to clinch a bid next weekend and head back to Nationals.
Shout-out to Stetson Club Golf, and Club President Leia Schwartz, on making their NCCGA debut!
Due to the forecast, the region played 36-holes on Saturday to avoid the incoming snow on Sunday. After 36-holes Niagara University scored the upset, narrowly edging out SUNY Cortland by one-stroke. Benjamin Conroy earned medalist honors for Niagara with a 150. Saint Bonaventure finished in third in their NCCGA debut.
Shout-out to the RPI Women's Club Golf team on their first NCCGA event this past weekend! They became the fourth all-women's club golf team in NCCGA history.
Northern New England
The teams in Northern New England survived hail and sleet on Saturday to get in 18-holes, beating out the storm that cancelled Sunday's round. Northeastern earned the team victory with a 399 team score, followed by New Hampshire and then Boston University. Mark Monday of NEU earned individual honors with a 78.
Congrats to Shane Ezepik of BU for his Hole-in-One on #17 at Hickory Ridge Golf Club!
The Oregon Ducks continue their winning ways, notching their fifth straight regional tournament victory in the Northwest Region by 34 strokes. Central Washington finished in second, followed by Seattle University (making their NCCGA debut!). The Ducks placed five on the All-Tournament team, led by medalist Charles Sitton's 142 (-2).
Saturday's round brought 40-60 MPH winds on the links-style course, with the wind becoming so powerful it knocked out power to the course and attached casino. Despite the conditions, Miami (OH)'s Jarret Kreger shot a 76 (+5) in Round 1 to lead the field. Ohio State emerged as the winner with a team score of 818, defeating defending regional champ Miami (OH) by 3-strokes. Kreger finished as medalist with a 151 (+9).
The Ozark Region was playing its second tournament of the season, with a bid to Nationals on the line. Arkansas Tech won the first tournament, but this event came down to the Bedlam Series rivals (Oklahoma-Oklahoma State). Oklahoma led after Round 1 by 7 strokes, and held on in Round 2 to edge the Cowboys. Logan Lambert led the way with a 144 (+4) to lead Oklahoma. The win, and Arkansas Tech's third place finish, means Oklahoma earned the region's automatic bid to Nationals. It's the team's first-ever trip.
The Pacific Region wrapped up their region this weekend, and Stanford will be heading back to the NCCGA National Championship for the third straight season. After finishing second in the region's first tournament, the Cardinals won by 30-strokes to win the first tiebreaker. Armando Herrera of Stanford shot a 142 (-2) to earn medalist honors, followed by Jisoo Keel's 144 (E).
A windy weekend of golf in the Philly Region ended with Villanova on top by three-strokes over Delaware. The Wildcats overcame a three-stroke deficit at the end of Round 1 to take the first step towards qualifying for Nationals. Blake Reifsnyder, an individual representing Kutztown University, earned medalist honors with a 156.
Auburn got off to a strong start in Round 1, holding the lead by 4-strokes over Georgia Tech, and 8-strokes over Alabama (the winner of the first regional tournament). The Tigers needed to win by at least 14 strokes to force a tiebreaker with Alabama, and they did exactly that. Unfortunately, the next tiebreaker procedure was to compare 6th man scores from all four tournament rounds. The calculation gave the nod to Alabama and they will be making their return to the NCCGA National Championship for the first-time since the Fall of 2014 season. Tennessee finished in third. Carl Chidambaram of Vanderbilt earned medalist honors with a 148 (+4).
The second tournament of the Southeast Region took place in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Golf Academy of Myrtle Beach emerged victorious. GAA took down South Carolina by four-strokes, which unfortunately wasn't enough to earn the region's automatic bid. Due to tiebreaker procedures, USC finished with lower total strokes from both tournaments combined to secure its second straight Nationals bid. Daniel Childress of GAA-MB earned medalist with a 149 (+5). Georgia finished in third place.
The Golf Academy of Carlsbad continued rolling in the Southwest Region, topping UCLA by 35-strokes. Ethan Heim earned medalist honors for GAA with a 141 (-1), followed by Brett Daly of San Diego.
A batch of new teams formed the new look Twin Cities Region this weekend, but a familiar team topped the leaderboard. Iowa State took home the tournament title by 30 strokes over Minnesota-Twin Cities, followed by Minnesota-Duluth, Iowa State (B), and then the University of Nebraska. Matt Opsal finished as the medalist from Twin Cities, edging out club golf legend David Stein of Iowa State.