Thirty-six times a team has represented UCLA in the championship and 2014 marks the Bruins’ 12th consecutive berth, a school record. In 10 other appearances, UCLA has been represented by one or more individuals.
In their 36 team starts, the Bruins have captured NCAA crowns in 1988 and 2008, the last year of the exclusively 72-hole stroke play format. Head Coach Derek Freeman has guided the Bruins to seven straight NCAA berths during his tenure, including four Top 20 finishes (1st 2008, T16th 2010, T5th 2011 and 2012). He has also tutored the only NCAA individual champion in UCLA history: Kevin Chappel in 2008.
Currently ranked 16th in the GolfWorld coaches poll, the Bruins have won one tournament this season – the Redhawk Invitational – and recorded 10 other Top 10 results, including four podium finishes. UCLA claimed the fifth and final qualifying spot at the San Antonio Regional May 17 with a pair of birdies on the 54th hole by senior Anton Arboleda and sophomore Lorens Chan.
Individually, Chan is ranked 60th in the latest GolfStat rankings with a team-leading 71.51 scoring average. Thirteen of his 37 rounds have been under par, and nine have been under 70. UCLA’s other ranked player is sophomore Jonathan Garrick (59th), whose 71.59 scoring average ranks second on the team. Garrick leads the Bruins with 15 rounds under par and 11 rounds under 70. Both players boast a counter ratio of 92%.
The rest of the Bruins’ lineup includes Arboleda, who will be competing in his third NCAA Championship Tournament, and juniors Matt Pinizzotto and Preston Valder. In October, Valder won his first collegiate title, capturing the Cal State San Marcos Fall Classic with a 54-hole score of 205 (-11). Pinizzotto has averaged 73.4 in 31 rounds with eight rounds under par.
The NCAA Men’s Golf Championship begins with 54 holes of medal play after the top eight teams advance to match play to determine the national champion. Prairie Dunes will play to a par of 70 over 6,948 yards. The Golf Channel will televise the final three days of match play, May 26-28, beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.
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