Men's Golf Set For NCAA Regional Championships
May 18, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. --- The East Carolina men's golf team will look for its first NCAA Championships berth when the Pirates tee off at the Virginia Tech Regional on Thursday morning at the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech in Radford, Va.
The Pirates are the No. 9 seed in the 13-team regional. The top five teams and top individual will advance to the NCAA Championships, which are May 31-June 5 in Stillwater, Okla.
Head coach Press McPhaul will field the lineup of juniors Harold Varner, David Watkins, Adam Stephenson, Jake Colley and red-shirt freshman Ryan Eibner. The foursome of juniors has played together in each of the last two tournaments, but Eibner hasn't been in the lineup since March, although he did compete as an individual at the River Landing Intercollegiate last month.
Varner and Watkins were each voted First-Team All-Conference USA by the league's head coaches. Both players recorded 10 top-20 finishes this season. Varner placed in the top-5 four times, including a first-place finish at the Outer Banks (OBX) Collegiate, while Watkins also placed in the top-5 four times with a pair of third-place finishes.
As a sophomore last season, Varner received an at-large individual bid to the NCAA Yale Regional where he finished 33rd. Coach McPhaul has a team in an NCAA regional for the fourth time after guiding Vanderbilt to three regional appearances.
ECU claimed a pair of tournament titles this season winning the OBX Collegiate and the River Landing Intercollegiate. The Pirates won the OBX championship by 23 strokes over Richmond and the River Landing trophy by three strokes over Liberty.
The Pirates have gone head-to-head this season with six of the other 12 teams in the field and compiled a 7-7 record against those teams. They went 2-4 against teams seeded ahead of them (Duke 0-1, Virginia 1-2, Virginia Tech 1-1) and 5-3 against teams seeded 10th or lower (UNCW 3-2, Coastal Carolina 0-1, Lamar 2-0).
The Pirates, who are paired with Virginia Tech and Mississippi during the first two rounds, will tee off at 8:50 a.m. Thursday. Golfstat will be providing live scoring of the event on its website, www.golfstat.com.