May 6, 2008
Third-ranked UCLA travels to Bremerton, Wash. to compete in the NCAA West Regional Championship at Gold Mountain Golf Club, May 15-17.
The Bruins received the No.2 seed in the West region and will begin play on May 15 with top-seeded USC and No. 3 seed Florida State. Overall, eight Pac-10 schools are among the 27 teams in the West Regional. Following 54 holes of stroke play, the top 10 teams, plus the top two individuals not affiliated with those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 28-31 at Purdue.
Head Coach Derek Freeman said the Bruins were happy with their position in the regional.
"Our team has played at Gold Mountain," he said. "It's long, it's difficult and the greens are good. The question mark, as always, is the weather. At this point, all the teams competing are quality teams so we'll have to be on top of our game to contend for the title."
In the previous five years of the regional tournament, the Bruins have finished no worse than seventh with victories in 2003 and '04.
This season marks the 15th time in 16 years that UCLA has remained in the West Region. In 2006, they finished seventh in the East Regional and Kevin Chappell, then a sophomore, won the tournament. Freeman has enjoyed an outstanding maiden season, his first at the Division I level. In 2007-08, the Bruins have won four tournaments, including the Collegiate Match Play Championship in October. They also have recorded six podium finishes and two other Top 10 results. Four players have won individual tournament titles and one --Chappell -- tied for the conference title after 72 holes before falling in a playoff.
Chappell has enjoyed an outstanding season, earning selection to the U.S. Palmer Cup Team and acclaim as the Pac-10 Golfer of the Year. In addition, he established a new 54-hole UCLA scoring record of 198 (-15) and won four matches in leading the Bruins to the match play title. Plus, he earned Pac-10 Player of the Month honors twice. Finally, he is on the Watch Lists for the Hogan and Nicklaus Awards.
"Kevin certainly has been one of the most consistent players in the country this season, " said Freeman. "His experience and work ethic have motivated our players to perform at their best."
Chappell's stroke average of 70.9 is on pace to break the single season mark of 71.2 held by Travis Johnson in 2004. He has played 27 rounds this season in 15-under par. He also boasts 15 rounds under par, 10 below 70. In seven of his nine starts, he has finished among the Top 10.
His record in regional competition is even more impressive. In three previous regional starts, he boasts a victory and a pair of runner-up results with a scoring average of 68.7 in nine rounds.