ECU Set To Begin NCAA Men's Golf Regional Play
May 16, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. --- East Carolina begins NCAA Athens Regional action Thursday at the par-71, 7,253-yard University of Georgia Golf Course. The 54-hole tournament will be contested over three days, 18 holes each day, with the top five teams and low individual not on one of those squads advancing to the NCAA Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif., starting May 30.
ECU is making its second-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance and third overall. The Pirates finished ninth at the Virginia Tech Regional last season.
The 33rd-ranked Pirates are the No. 6 seed and will be paired with fourth-seeded Georgia and No. 5 seed Iowa. The trio will go off in 10-minute increments starting at 8:20 a.m. on hole No. 10 Thursday.
Conference USA Player-of-the-Year Harold Varner, who is ranked No. 44 by World Amateur Golf Ranking, leads the Pirates. The senior recorded seven top-10 finishes in 11 tournaments this season and had the second-lowest scoring average (71.84)of any player in the league. This will be Varner's third NCAA appearance; in addition to last year's Virginia Tech Regional he also competed as an individual at the 2010 New Haven Regional.
Senior Adam Stephenson was a second-team all-conference performer in 2012. He posted four top-10 finished and shot par or better in 14 of 29 rounds. Fellow senior David Watkins, junior Zach Edmondson and sophomore Ryan Eibner round out the Pirates' line-up. Watkins currently owns the third-lowest scoring average (73.58) in school history and is a two-time first-team all-conference selection. Edmondson played in four tournaments in the spring, while Eibner posted three top-10 finishes during the semester.
Joining the ECU, Georgia and Iowa in the Athens Regional are No. 1 seed Alabama, No. 2 seed North Florida, No. 3 seed New Mexico, No. 7 seed Long Beach State, No. 8 seed Augusta State, No. 9 seed Wake Forest, No. 10 seed Houston, No. 11 seed Texas-Arlington, No. 12 seed UNC-Wilmington and No. 13 seed Loyola (Md.). There also will be 10 individuals representing teams that did not make the NCAA field.
Alabama is the highest ranked team in the field, fourth, followed by No. 10 North Florida, 16th-ranked New Mexico and No. 24 Georgia. Alabama (SEC), North Florida (Atlantic Sun), UNC-Wilmington (Colonial) and Loyola (Metro Atlantic) each won their conference championships this season.
The other NCAA Regionals will take place in Greensboro, N.C.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Norman, Okla.; and Stanford, Calif. Eighty-one teams and 45 individuals are in the field. Live scoring and pairings can be found at golfstat.com.