Menís Golf Set for NCAA Championship
• The Aggies are making their sixth straight NCAA Championship appearance and 29th overall ... action takes place Tuesday through Sunday at Capital City Club's Crabapple Course (par 70/7,320 yards) ... one round is scheduled for each of the first three days, with match play getting underway on Friday.
• A&M won the program's first national championship in the first year of match play (2009) ... the Aggies have finished 15th or better in each of the last five years ... among all collegiate programs, only Texas A&M and USC have finished in the top 15 in each of the last five seasons.
• Texas A&M is one of just six schools nationally that have advanced to the final site in each of the last six years (Florida, UCLA, USC, Texas, Illinois).
• The Aggies earned a trip to Atlanta with a fourth-place finish at the Tempe Regional (829, -11) ... A&M junior Johannes Veerman finished in a tie for fourth at the regional, while sophomore Ty Dunlap carded a top-20 finish by ending play in a tie for 17th.
• A&M has finished fifth or better in eight of 13 tournaments this season, posting a second-place finish at the Kikkor Golf Husky Invitational and SeaBest Invitational ... the Aggies also finished second (out of four teams) at The Carmel Cup.
• Squaring off against some of the country's toughest competition, the Aggies have posted a win-loss record of 97-69 (.588) this year and a 71-37 (.657) mark this spring ... A&M's season stroke average of 290.72 currently ranks fourth on the school's all-time charts.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT
• The tournament will begin with 54 holes of stroke play (18 each day) ... following that, the top eight teams will advance to match play to determine the national champion ... teams will be seeded 1 through 8 by order of finish in stroke play, and will face off in a bracket-style tournament with one round set for each day ... the championship is scheduled for Sunday, June 2.
• Live scoring will be available on ncaa.com ... ncaa.com will also provide a live video stream beginning Thursday.
THE FIELD (30 TEAMS)
• A 30-team field will compete for the championship ... five teams advanced from each of the six regional sites.
• This year’s field includes Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Ball State, California, Coastal Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, LSU, Kent State, New Mexico, North Florida, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Southern California, St. Mary’s (Calif.), TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCF,UCLA,UNLV and Washington.
• Individuals competing include Rodolfo Cazaubon (North Texas), Mario Clemens (SMU), Tyler Klava (South Alabama), Dustin Korte (Austin Peay State), Denny McCarthy (Virginia) and Daniel Walker (Richmond).
• Texas A&M will be paired with South Carolina and St. Mary's for Tuesday's first round (6:20 a.m. CT, Hole No. 10) and Wednesday's second round (11:40 a.m. CT, Hole No. 1) ... third-round pairings will be determined on Wednesday evening.
AGGIES IN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP PLAY
• Texas A&M is making its 29th all-time appearance at the NCAA final site.
• A&M has earned a berth in the NCAA Championship in six straight seasons and nine of the last 10 years overall.
• The Aggies are one of only six schools in the country that have advanced to the last six NCAA finals, joining Florida, UCLA, USC, Texas and Illinois.
• A&M will be competing at the NCAA Championship in the state of Georgia for the first time in program history.
CAPITAL CITY CLUB CRABAPPLE COURSE (par 70/7,320 yards)
• The Capital City Club was organized on April 16, 1883, and remains one of the oldest social organizations in the South ... In 1999, 600 acres were purchased by the club for the planned Crabapple clubhouse and golf course. In October 2001, the 18-hole, Tom Fazio-designed golf course was completed.
• Since opening its doors, the Crabapple Course has played host to numerous golf events, including the American Express WGC, the AJGA Canon Cup and the NCAA Southeast Regional.
• J.T. Higgins on having played at Capital City Club's Crabapple Course during the fall: “We certainly know how not to play it. We didn’t do a very good job when we played there before, but that is the whole point of going there. We got a good look at the course and now have a better idea how to attack it and be able to score on it. I think our guys know that we made a lot of mistakes, both mental and physical, when we were there in the fall. If we play like we did on the final day of the regional, I think we’ve got a chance to do really well and qualify for match play.”
HEAD COACH J.T. HIGGINS
• J.T. Higgins (Eastern Oregon State '89) is in his 12th season at the helm of the Texas A&M golf program ... Higgins has led the Aggies to a school-record 11 straight NCAA tournaments and guided the program to its first national championship three seasons ago (2009).
• Last season, Higgins was named the Big 12's Coach of the Year after guiding the Aggies to their first conference title since 1987 ... it was the second Coach of the Year honor of his career (2001 Mountain West COY while at New Mexico).
• Texas A&M golfers have earned 10 All-America honors under his watch ... two are currently playing on the PGA Tour, Bobby Gates and Martin Piller.
2012-13 SEASON AWARDS
• All-SEC Team: Drew Evans
• Team Banquet Awards: Drew Evans (Most Valuable Player & Most Improved), Ben Crancer (Newcomer of the Year), Case Cochran (B.K. & Jane Watson Academic Achievement) and Greg Yates (Coach Bob Ellis Leadership).
• SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award Nominee: Case Cochran
• SEC Men’s Golf Community Service Team: Ty Dunlap
TEXAS A&M QUOTES
HEAD COACH J.T. HIGGINS
On advancing after the NCAA Tempe Regional…
“I thought we played great all three rounds, even though we didn’t score very well the first two. Finally, the last round the scoring kind of matched what was going on out there and I was really excited about that. I think we are playing our best golf of the year going into the last tournament and I’m pretty excited.”
On playing well heading into the NCAA Championship…
“We’ve been trying to get a little bit better every day. It really has been that kind of process for the whole year. We got off to a slow start so we set some goals along the way to help us focus on getting better. We kept reaching those goals as we continued to improve and I think that gave us a little bit of confidence. We started feeling better and better about things and now we feel like we can compete with anybody in the country.”
On playing tough competition and tough courses, including Capital City Club…
“We’ve played against the best teams in the country and on the best courses we can possibly play on. Sometimes that beat us up and sometimes we came out on top. I can tell you we know how not to play the course we’re going to this week. We didn’t have very good success there in the fall, but I think we’ve got a great plan on how to attack it this time. We learned a lot and that is what we were hoping to achieve when we went out there in the fall.”
On the mentality of playing at the NCAA Championship…
“This is still a qualifier. There are 30 teams but you don’t have to be the best team after three rounds, you just have to be in the top eight. I think we are good enough to do that. We’re really going to try to be patient and stick to the game plan, while doing the same things we’ve done all year. We don’t need to get caught up on where we stand and trying to achieve something, because when you do that you start pressing and put too much pressure on yourself. If we can really just stay in the moment and stick to the plan we’ve laid out I think we’ve got a much better chance of advancing.”
On the Aggies’ chances if they advance to match-play…
“I think it would be huge to advance, first of all, and really exciting to come that far because of where we were in the fall. I can tell you that this team would be dangerous in match play because we don’t really have anybody that’s the star of the team. We’ve got five guys that are just blue collar, hard-working guys and are all about the same. That makes us a tough team to play against because you really can’t stack your line-up one way or the other. Your weak players are going to have to play a good player and your good players are going to have to play a good player. Being good one through five is a lot better than being top-heavy.”
SENIOR CAMERON PECK
On playing well entering the NCAA Championship…
“I think we’re going to do great. We haven’t had the easiest season this year but I think that is going to help us because we had to really focus and grid the last few tournaments. That’s what the national championship is all about, so I actually think it’s going to help us … I think we’re playing great. We’ve been preparing the last few days and everyone is playing awesome right now, especially in the last tournament at regionals.”
On playing tough courses, including the national championship course…
“It’s very nice because we’ve got to see all kind of golf courses and test our game instead of just playing easy courses. We’ve played this course earlier in the fall so I think it’s going to be a great help to us. We know where to miss and the things not to do, so I think that’s going to be a big help.”
On the possibility of advancing to match play and playing for a national championship…
“This is my last year so I’d love to go play for a national championship. We’ve fallen short, just by a few strokes, the last couple years and it has hurt really bad, so this year I really want to make it to match play. I believe we’re going to do it.”
SOPHOMORE TY DUNLAP
On playing well entering the NCAA Championship…
“We’re feeling pretty good. We actually had a rough finish to the first round at regionals but outside of that, things really came together on the last round and we made sure we got to nationals. Everybody starts back at zero. Just these past few weeks everybody is firing on all cylinders with a bunch of rounds in the 60’s. We’re going to get to Atlanta and do the same things we’ve been doing for the last month.”
On the experience of having played in the NCAA Championship previously…
“One of the great things is that coach has been through all stages of it, especially winning nationals in 2009. This is my second year at nationals and just about everybody on the team has been here before. Cam (Peck) got third in 2011. He’s super in postseason so he kind of drops down some wisdom on how to do stuff. Really, it’s just another tournament, there is just a much more meaningful prize at the end. We’re just going to play it like any other tournament, coach keeps us free and relaxed.”
JUNIOR JOHANNES VEERMAN
On the team improving throughout the season…
“I think it helps a lot that we started playing better as the season came to an end. We’ve started finding our groove. We did find a lot of trouble in the middle of the season, Ty was hurt and many of us just couldn’t find our game. We were struggling but as the season came to a close we started to learn from our mistakes and have been able to put up some good scores. Coming into regional and getting to nationals, we’re playing with a lot of confidence and that has helped a lot.”
On having played Capital City Club already this season…
“I think it’s a good course. It’s long, almost 7,500 yards and par 70. The rough was pretty thick when we played there in the fall. The greens are fast but they’re perfect. I think it’s a championship golf course, so if we go out and try to attack the par 5’s and don’t make silly mistakes we should do just fine.”