Clarksville, TN — Newspaper editor Horace Greeley is credited with the saying ‘Go West, young man’ back in 1850. Well the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Selection Committee felt the same way May 6th, as Austin Peay State University golf team was selected travel to Tempe, AZ for its regional tournament appearance – the fifth in school history.
“Our guys are determined,” Austin Peay coach Kirk Kayden said. “They definitely want to compete and play hard at this next level.
“We played a regional field at Memphis and played well. We just have to have the same mentality we have had all year—playing one shot at a time, one round at a time—and see what we can do.”
The 54-hole regional tournament will be conducted May 16th, 17th and 18th at the 18-hole 7,026 yard Arizona State University Karsten Course. The par of 72 venue that opened in 1989 has a rating of 73.7 and it has a slope rating of 132 on Bermuda grass.
The Governors — ranked 73rd by the most recent Golfstat rankings and earned an automatic bid as the Ohio Valley Conference champion — will be a 12-seed in the regional field.
Joining Austin Peay in Tempe will be UCLA, Duke, Georgia, Texas A&M, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Central Florida, North Carolina, Arizona State, Kennesaw State, Arizona, New Mexico State and Lehigh.
The Govs, Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference), New Mexico State (Western Athletic Conference) and Lehigh (Patriot League) are automatic qualifiers in the heavy at-large bid regional.
“We are pretty excited about the site,” Kayden said. “I thought it would be a little regionally closer but with our ranking this year they considered that as well.
“We have never been to Arizona before. In the nine years I have been here, we have never played any desert golf. I heard the golf course is great, but don’t know a lot about it. We will have time to research it.”
Austin Peay’s lineup for the regional should be similar to the one used to bring home the OVC title, headed by its lone senior Dustin Korte along with juniors Anthony Bradley and Maro Iten, sophomore Tucker Wallace and freshman Chris Baker.
With this being the first desert golf course the Govs have ever played on, they will get out there a few day early to get a couple of practice rounds in before the May 16th start.
“I think they will adjust just fine,” Kayden said. “It is a desert course, but there will be greens and fairways and that’s what they’re used too.”
The top five teams from the Tempe Regional – as well as five other regionals — will advance to the NCAA championship on May 28th through June 2nd, at the Capital City Club/Crabapple Course in Atlanta, GA.
“With the difficulty of our schedule this year, we’re hoping that really has prepared the guys for something like this come the NCAA regionals,” Kayden said. “They have shown this season they can compete against some of the best.”