GOLF TEAM GETS AT-LARGE BID TO NCAA CENTRAL REGIONAL TOURNAMENT
May 5, 2008
ARLINGTON, Texas - - It didn't come as a complete surprise to the UT Arlington men's golf team, but Monday's announcement about an NCAA regional tournament berth still made the Mavericks a proud and excited bunch.
UT Arlington's name landed as part of the 27-team field that will travel to Columbus, Ohio, and compete in the NCAA Central Regional Tournament scheduled May 15-17 at The Ohio State University Scarlet Course. Also in the field are Southland foe Lamar, TCU, Texas A&M and Baylor.
The postseason spot marks the sixth time in the program's history that UT Arlington has been invited to the regional tournament. It's the fourth time in the nine-year tenure of current head coach Jay Rees. The Mavericks advanced on the strength of an exceptional fall season, highlighted by a record-setting performance at the Turtle Bay Intercollegiate tournament in Turtle Bay, Hawaii, and two tournament victories at the Texas Cup in Austin and the UTA/Waterchase Invitational.
In the Hawaii event, UTA's crew broke the school record for low tournament score with a 270-281-272--823.
"I'm extremely excited for the guys," Rees said. "Overall, it has been a record-setting year, and I think that our best golf is still ahead of us. I feel like, on one special week, we can still play our way into the national championships. I'm excited about one more opportunity."
The Mavericks, ranked No. 52 in the nation by GolfStat.com, finished in the top three in five of their six fall tournament. The Mavericks are led by Bobby Massa, who carries a 72.91 stroke average, followed by Zack Reeves (73.06) and Michael van de Venter (73.54).
Rees said the Mavericks have been practicing since their sixth-place finish in the conference tournament. Rees has not chosen his five-man team yet, although he plans to choose the squad after team qualifying is finished on Friday.
"Our preparation has been great," Rees said. "I think, with the guys wrapping up their final exams, the focus will be on golf now. This is the number one goal they have been waiting for. Their course management and their focus and hunger to want to compete one more time has been excellent. They will be ready for the challenge."