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The Road to Grayhawk: Previewing the NCAA Men's Regionals
04 May 2022
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship, Grayhawk Golf Club - Raptor Course

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Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt, Arizona State, North Carolina and Pepperdine have received top seeds the six regionals for the upcoming NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships, which get underway on Monday, May 16.

Six 54-hole regional tournaments will be conducted May 16-18. Thirteen teams and 10 individuals not on those teams will compete at each of three regionals while the other three regionals will have 14 teams and five individuals not on those teams. The top five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the finals. Regional play is considered preliminary rounds of the NCAA championships competition and all national championship policies apply.

Team and individual medalist titles will be decided May 27-June 1 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Thirty conferences have been granted automatic qualification for the 2022 regionals. Listed below are the teams and individuals selected to participate in the championships. Teams winning automatic qualification are designated by their conferences in parentheses.

Here's a look at the field for the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships.

• • •

Bryan Regional; Traditions Club; Bryan, Texas

Teams: 1. Pepperdine [West Coast Conference]; 2. Texas A&M; 3. Georgia; 4. Tennessee; 5. Kansas; 6. Arizona; 7. Michigan State; 8. SMU [American Athletic Conference]; 9. Boise State; 10. Oregon State; 11. Colorado State; 12. Southeastern Louisiana [Southland Conference]; 13. Texas Southern [Southwestern Athletic Conference]

Individuals: 1. Canon Claycomb, Alabama; 2. Thomas Ponder, Alabama; 3. Chad Sewell, Sam Houston; 4. Justin Gums, TCU; 5. Riley Lewis, LMU; 6. Aymeric Laussot, TCU; 7. Aidan Thomas, New Mexico State; 8. Evan White, Texas State; 9. Joe Buenfeld, Incarnate Word; 10. Zane Brooks, Prairie View A&M

What to look for: Defending national champion Pepperdine has had a target on its back all season but with four of five players in its lineup from last year's title run, the Waves have the firepower to successfully defend its championship. Led by WCC Player of the Year Dylan Menante and seniors Joe Highsmith and Joey Vrzich along with Derek Hitchner and William Mouw, the Waves have posted three wins this season.

After Pepperdine, this maybe the most wide-open of all of the six regionals with seeds 2-6 having experienced their fair share of ups and downs this season.

They said it: "Regionals is one of the toughest events of the year. You feel the pressure, you feel the excitement. There are so many good teams and you don't know how it's going to play out. We haven't played this golf course yet so we don't know what to expect really. But what we learned from last year was to keep doing our thing, be us, and in the end let the results take care of themselves." Pepperdine head coach Michael Beard

• • •

Palm Beach Gardens Regional; PGA National Resort; Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Teams: 1. Vanderbilt [Southeastern Conference]; 2. Florida; 3. Notre Dame; 4. Florida State; 5. Purdue; 6. New Mexico; 7. South Florida [American Athletic Conference]; 8. Little Rock [Sun Belt Conference]; 9. College of Charleston [Colonial Athletic Association]; 10. Indiana; 11. San Diego; 12. Davidson [Atlantic 10 Conference]; 13. Loyola Maryland [Patriot League]; 14. Charleston Southern [Big South Conference]

Individuals: 1. Nick Lyerly, UNC Greensboro; 2. Tobias Jonsson, Mercer; 3. Henrik Lilja, Campbell; 4. Ross Funderburke, Furman; 5. Zack Byers, Gardner-Webb

What to look for: Host of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic, PGA National's Champion course, with its famed Bear Trap, will provide a stern test for the 14 teams and five individuals making their way Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

With wins in five of its last six events, including the SEC Championship, Vanderbilt is as hot as any team in the country heading into the postseason and the Florida Gators are looking forward to getting another crack at the Commodores after falling to Vandy in the SEC title match a week ago.

Led by led by junior Palmer Jackson, a Haskins and Ben Hogan Award candidate, Notre Dame is a strong three-seed and should draw added confidence from its wire-to-wire win at the Stephens Cup in October. Behind 2022 AAC Men's Player of the Year Albin Bergstrom, South Florida is a dangerous seven-seed.

They said it: “Postseason golf is really as good as it gets as a college golfer. I’m excited that our kids earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament and I think it says a tremendous amount about the steps we have taken,” Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh

• • •

New Haven Regional; The Course at Yale; New Haven, Conn.

Teams: 1. North Carolina; 2. Texas Tech; 3. Wake Forest [Atlantic Coast Conference]; 4. Illinois [Big Ten Conference]; 5. NC State; 6. Charlotte [Conference USA]; 7. North Florida [Atlantic Sun Conference]; 8. Georgia Southern; 9. Mississippi State; 10. Virginia; 11. University of Central Florida; 12. Seton Hall [Big East Conference]; 13. Yale [The Ivy League]; 14. Sacred Heart [Northeast Conference]

Individuals: 1. Roberto Nieves, Delaware; 2. Eddy Lai, UCLA; 3. Caleb Manuel, UConn; 4. Adrian Vagberg, VCU; 5. Ryan Tall, Lafayette

What to look for: This regional is loaded at the top, with No. 7 North Carolina, No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 18 Wake Forest. The Tar Heels, behind Austin Greaser and David Ford, picked up three wins in the fall but fell to Wake Forest in the semifinals of the ACC Championships.

This is the fourth time North Carolina will be playing in an NCAA Regional at Yale. The Tar Heels advanced to the NCAA Championship in each of the three previous regionals in New Haven.

The Red Raiders of Texas Tech feature the world's top-ranked male amateur in Ludvig Aberg, who is coming off a win at the Big 12 Championships last week in Trinity, Texas and you can never count out Mike Small's Illinois team which is coming off its conference-record seventh consecutive Big Ten Championship. The Illini is in search of it's 14th-consecutive NCAA Championship berth dating back to 2008, a streak that ranks second nationally, one behind Texas.

Two things to keep an eye on here are the conditions, which could always play a factor in the Northeast, and how much will course knowledge benefit Ivy League champion Yale, seeded 13th.

They said it: "The toughest teams mentally will get out and advance to Arizona." Wake Forest head coach Jerry Haas

• • •

Stockton Regional; The Reserve at Spanos Park; Stockton, Calif.

Teams: 1. Arizona State; 2. Washington [Pac-12 Conference]; 3. Stanford; 4. LSU; 5. Oregon; 6. Nevada; 7. Liberty; 8. Brigham Young; 9. UAB; 10. Houston; 11. UC Davis; 12.; Denver [The Summit League]; 13. Abilene Christian [Western Athletic Conference]; 14. Weber State [Big Sky Conference]

Individuals: 1. Caden Fioroni, UNLV; 2. Jackson Rivera, Southern California; 3. Tyler Schafer, Long Beach State; 4. Nathan Cogswell, Seattle; 5. Nate Deziel, North Dakota State

What to look for: Four of the top-five seeds in this region are from the Pac-12 Conference with LSU making the trek from Baton Rouge to hold down the four-seed. Led by Pac-12 Men's Golfer of the Year RJ Manke, Washington is coming off a win at the Pac-12 Championships where they held off Stanford and Arizona State to win the program's seventh conference crown. Arizona State, which hasn't had a win since the Southwestern Intercollgiate in January, needs a top-five finish to get back home for a chance to compete for a national championship at Grayhawk.

They said it: “Whenever we go West to these courses with different grass, it’s very important for us to be good around the greens. That’s where the biggest challenge is. We will do our due diligence once we get out there to get our work in around the greens so that we are as fully prepared as we can be.” LSU head coach Chuck Winstead

• • •

Columbus Regional; Ohio State Golf Club; Columbus, Ohio

Teams: 1. Oklahoma State; 2. Georgia Tech; 3. Arkansas; 4. Clemson; 5. East Tennessee State [Southern Conference]; 6. Ohio State; 7. Duke; 8. Northwestern; 9. Florida Gulf Coast; 10. San Francisco; 11. Kentucky; 12. Wright State [Horizon League]; 13. Southern Illinois [Missouri Valley Conference]

Individuals: 1. Hunter Eichhorn, Marquette; 2. Griffin Barela, Wisconsin; 3. Patrick Sheehan, Penn State; 4. Thomas Giroux, Oakland; 5. Connor Burgess, Virginia Tech; 6. Sam Jean, Cincinnati; 7. Lou Olsakovsky, Penn State; 8. Cameron Huss, Wisconsin; 9. Joe Muschong, Morehead State; 10. Anthony Delisanti, Valparaiso

What to look for: Oklahoma State will be making its sixth trip to the Columbus Regional where it finished first in 1990 and 2018, third in '93, fourth in '99 and second in 2008. Three times the Cowboys road to the national championship has gone through the Scarlet Course.

From top-to-bottom, this is arguably the toughest of the six regionals, with a fierce battle expected for the fifth spot. Ohio State, the sixth-seed, will be playing on its home course while Duke is a very strong No. 7 seed. Northwestern, behind Big Ten champion David Nyfjäll, is no stranger to the Scarlet Course.

They said it: "Postseason golf is all about how you grind out pars. We got to find a way to keep the ball in play, keep the ball below the hole, give ourselves birdie looks and keep it around par, because at the end of the day the top five teams go on. We don't need to win this tournament to have another opportunity to play…we need to figure out what we need to do to get in the top five and generally around par is what you need to do. The guys just need to figure out a way to play confident and play smart, execute our game plan once we get out there and let the chips fall where they may." San Francisco head coach Jack Kennedy

• • •

Norman Regional; Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club; Norman, Okla.

Teams: 1. Oklahoma [Big 12 Conference]; 2. Texas; 3. Auburn; 4. South Carolina; 5. Ole Miss; 6. Louisville; 7. Missouri; 8. San Diego State [Mountain West Conference]; 9. Utah; 10. Kent State [Mid-American Conference]; 11. Kansas State; 12. UT Martin [Ohio Valley Conference]; 13. Rider [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference]

Individuals: 1. Johnny Keefer, Baylor; 2. Vicente Marzilio, North Texas; 3. Mac McClear, Iowa; 4. Justin Biwer, Colorado; 5. Evan Davis, Belmont; 6. Ronan Kleu, Iowa; 7. Paul Conroy, Chattanooga; 8. Sam Murphy, Louisiana Tech; 9. Nick Wolf, Middle Tennessee; 10. Michael Barnard, Middle Tennessee

What to look for: Oklahoma and Texas just can't seem to shake each other as the two arch-rivals are seeded 1-2 at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

Despite losing three All-Americans off last year's team which finished runner-up to Pepperdine at Grayhawk, the Sooners have retooled under head coach Ryan Hybl and have won six events this season, including last week's Big 12 Championships. After playing much of the season without the services of Pierceson and Parker Coody, the Longhorns are healthy at the right time of year and won't go down quietly if they get to Scottsdale.

Looking for a dark horse here? Look no further than the San Diego State Aztecs, champions of te Mountain West Conference, which finished third at last year's Kington Springs Regional in Tennessee to advance to Grayhawk.

They said it: "We're obviously excited to host a regional at our home course. The field is a great field that will test us and we're excited for that opportunity. You don't get into postseason play without being a great team, so we're excited." Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl

ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Championship

30 teams and 6 individuals not on a qualifying team make up the field for the championship of NCAA Division I women's golf.

After 72 holes of stroke play, the individual champion is crowned, and the low 8 teams advance to match play to determine the team champion.

View Complete Tournament Information

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