May 27, 2011
Stillwater, OK -
The No. 2/No. 4 (Golfstat/Golfweek) ranked UCLA men's golf team will travel to Stillwater, OK to compete in the NCAA Men's Golf Championship, hosted by Oklahoma State University from Tuesday, May 31st to Sunday, June 5th.
The tournament will be played at Karsten Creek Golf Course, which plays a par of 72 over 7,416 yards. Format for the championship is 54 holes of stroke play, followed by a cut in which the top eight teams advance to a match play bracket. The individual champion will be crowned on Thursday, June 2nd after the third round and then three rounds of match play will commence with the national champion determined on Sunday, June 5th.
Thirty teams and six individuals will compete for team and individual honors. Out of the thirty teams that are competing for the NCAA Championship, 19 are consensus top-25 teams and two others (Tennessee and North Carolina State) are ranked in the top-25 in one poll. Five teams from the Pac-10 Conference (UCLA, USC, Cal, Arizona and Arizona State) are also part of the field at the NCAA Championship.
UCLA will be making its 43rd appearance in the NCAA Championship, having won two team titles back in 1988 and 2008. The Bruins have also recorded 11 Top 10 results at the NCAA Championship and their current streak of nine consecutive appearances in the tournament is a school record. Finally, the Bruins' 2008 title represents the last time the championship was conducted in a 72-hole stroke play format.
Head Coach Derek Freeman has led the Bruins to one national championship (2008), two NCAA Regional victories (2009 Central and 2011 West), and 12 tournament wins. As the women's head coach at Oklahoma City University, he guided the team to 9 tournament victories and an NAIA National Championship in 2005. Freeman has also coached three consensus All-Americans, including Kevin Chappell, who became UCLA's first NCAA individual champion back in 2008. This year, Derek became the 4th UCLA head coach to earn Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors as he earned 4 victories in 12 tournaments.
Last year, the Bruins finished tied for 16th at the NCAA Championship, which was played at the Honors Course in Chattanooga, TN. Gregor Main was the top finisher for the Bruins as he finished in a tie for 9th place. The Augusta State Jaguars are the defending national champions.
As mentioned above, the Bruins have won 4 tournaments in 12 starts this season and recorded 9 podium finishes. UCLA's victories came at the Gifford Collegiate Championship, Battle at the Beach, Western Intercollegiate and the NCAA West Regional. In addition, four Bruins have taken home individual titles. Sophomores Pontus Widegren and Mario Clemens each earned their first collegiate victories at the Fall Preview and the Cal Poly Invitational respectively. Meanwhile, junior Gregor Main also recorded his 1st career victory by winning the Del Walker Intercollegiate back in March. Freshman Patrick Cantlay has set a UCLA single-season freshman record this year by winning four tournaments, including the NCAA West Regional last week. With last week's win, Patrick became the third UCLA golfer all-time to win an NCAA Regional title, joining Travis Johnson in 2004 and Kevin Chappell in 2006. Cantlay is the team leader in top-5 finishes (6), top-10 finishes (8), rounds under par (18), rounds under 70 (16) and scoring average (70.4). Patrick is also shooting 26-under par through 34 rounds on the year and earned Pac-10 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. He is the first UCLA golfer and just the second golfer in league history to win both awards in the same year. In addition, three other Bruins earned Pac-10 honors this year, as Pontus Widegren and Gregor Main received first-team honors while junior Alex Shi Yup Kim earned honorable mention. Finally, Patrick Cantlay has been ranked the No. 1 collegiate golfer in the country according to GolfWeek heading into the NCAA Championship. He was also a finalist for the Hogan Award, which is given out annually to the nation's top collegiate golfer.
Sophomore Pedro Figueiredo, Cantlay, Main, Widegren and Kim will all be competing for the Bruins next week at the NCAA Championship.
For more information on the NCAA Championship, click here.