Golf Prepares for Southeast Regional
STATESBORO, Ga. - The Georgia Southern Golf team tees off at 9:40 a.m. Thursday, May 19th, in its 10th NCAA Regional appearance at the 2011 Southeast Regional in Ocala, Fla., at the Golden Ocala Golf Club. The Eagles, an automatic qualifier as winner of the 2011 Southern Conference crown last month, head to the NCAA Regionals for the ninth time since 2001.
"Having a good set of kids in the program year in and year out, and trying to get better as the season progresses has led to our program's success," said Head Coach Larry Mays. "One thing we can pride ourselves with is that our teams typically get better throughout the year. Hopefully, playing our best golf down the stretch will help our team make another run this year in the postseason and lead to more NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship appearances in the future."
Six sites play host to 54-hole tournaments May 19-21st. The low five teams in each region, along with the low individual not on the selected teams, advances to Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., for the 2011 NCAA Championship May 31st-June 5th.
Georgia Southern, competing at the par-72, 6,994-yard course as the 13th seed, joins a field that includes: Arkansas, Augusta State, Baylor, Central Florida, Florida, Jackson State, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Oregon and Southeastern Louisiana.
The Eagles have competed against eight of the 13 teams during the 2010-11 season. Georgia Southern played alongside host school Florida in three tournaments, while Arkansas and Central Florida have shared the same golf course with the Eagles twice. Georgia Southern has not competed against Baylor, Jackson State, Kennesaw State, Missouri and Oregon this year.
The Georgia Southern NCAA Regional team features the same five-man lineup that won the 2011 SoCon title and three players from the 2010 NCAA Championship run: Logan Blondell, Lewis Gruber, Florian Sander, Matt Deal and Hayden Anderson.
"The lineup will be the same as it was at the SoCon Championships," stated Mays. "Those kids earned it, they played well individually and together. We had good team chemistry with those five players."
Blondell (Lakeland, Fla.), who finished third at the SoCon Championships, makes his third straight NCAA postseason appearance. Sander (Bregenz, Austria) and Deal (Statesboro, Ga.) join Blondell as returners from last year's postseason team. Sander finished in a 34th-place tie at last year's regional. Concluding his first regional appearance with a tie for 58th place last season, Deal enters the 2011 Regional with a top-25 finish at the SoCon Championship.
"They have been in this situation before and had a chance to go to regionals," said Mays on his three returners from last year's NCAA Championships team. "That will give us a little bit of experience. It does get pretty intense down the stretch because there are so many good teams in this field. We will have to play well to advance, but we have guys that have experience and have been in the battle before."
Junior Lewis Gruber makes his first NCAA Regional appearance after joining the Eagles this season as a transfer. The Tallahassee, Fla., native shot an 8-under 208 at last month's SoCon Tournament to finish in second place. Freshman Hayden Anderson rounds out the five-man group. Anderson used the final round of the SoCon Championship to make the biggest jump in the individual standings for the Eagles. The Knoxville, Tenn., native moved up 20 spots to a tie for 21st-place finish with a 5-over 221 (76-75-70).
"All five of our guys are going to have to play well in order for us to have a good chance of finishing in the top five," said Mays. "Our team played a couple of good rounds at the Schenkel and Augusta, but we have to put in three good rounds to advance. We are going to need an outing like we had at the SoCon in order to make a run."
Last year, Georgia Southern carded its lowest round of the tournament to finish tied for fourth place (288-293-282=863) in the Atlanta Regional. The top-five finish punched the Eagles' ticket to their 14th NCAA Championship appearance and first since 2005. Blondell fired a 2-under 208 at the par-70, 7,137-yard Capital City Crabapple Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga., to finish second. Blondell finished two strokes behind Oklahoma State's Peter Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur Champion and winner of the 2011 Ben Hogan Award.
Live round-by-round scoring of the Southeast Regional is available at www.golfstat.com.
Follow the Eagle Golf team on GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/golf or get short updates on facebook.com/GSAthletics or twitter.com/GSAthletics.
- Category: Golf
- Published on Wednesday, 18 May 2011 14:40