May 5, 2008
From Navy Athletic Communications
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - By virtue of its Patriot League Championship win two weeks ago, Navy has been selected to play in the 2008 NCAA Div. I Men's Golf West Regional set for May 15-17 at the Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. The Mids will join USC, the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament, along with UCLA, Florida State, Stanford, Clemson, UNLV, North Carolina, Texas Tech, Central Florida, Arizona State, San Diego State, Texas, LSU, Oregon State, Pepperdine, Oregon, Cal, St. Mary's, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Washington, Oklahoma, Kansas State, San Diego, Denver and Columbia to form the 2008 NCAA West Regional field.
Navy, who will make its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance, has earned the right to play in the national tournament via winning the league championship on four previous years. Under the direction of 18th-year head coach Pat Owen, the Mids earned tournament bids in 1998, '00, '01, '03 and now in '08. Navy's best finish under Owen was in 1998 when the Mids placed 19th among the 23-team field at the Melrose Golf Course in Hilton Head, S.C.
"We are elated to be a part this year's field," said Owen. "We are certainly looking forward to heading to a Navy town. Overall, it's a wonderful opportunity to compete at the highest level, while representing the Naval Academy and the Patriot League."
The Midshipmen are certainly no strangers to heading out West, as each of their last three NCAA Tournament appearances have been on the West Coast. In 2000, team captain Drew Craig led the Mids to a 24th-place showing at the Riverbend Golf Club in Fresno, Calif. A year later in 2001, Nick Rogers, who is now the JV officer representative for the Navy golf team, paced the Mids en route to a 25th-place finish at the Trysting Tree Golf Course in Corvallis, Ore. And in 2003, Navy's last NCAA Tournament appearance, team captain Brian Crum and All-American Billy Hurley tied for 27th as the Mids finished 23rd in the tournament held in Auburn, Wash. at the Washington National Golf Club.
The West Regional is loaded with talent, but Navy was fortunate enough to play in the Sycuan Collegiate Invitational last October, as well as the River Landing Intercollegiate a month ago to help give the team a feel for some of the elite golfers in the country.
"I certainly feel like the two tournaments provided us with valuable experience for the NCAA Tournament," added Owen. "The River Landing Intercollegiate in particular helped boost our confidence as we were heading down to stretch and into the Patriot League Tournament. It's nice for our players to have had the experience and opportunity to have played alongside some of these teams before."
Twenty-seven teams and six individuals have qualified for each of three regional tournaments - the West Regional, the Central Regional (Scarlet Golf Course in Columbus, Ohio) and the East Regional (Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga, Tenn.) - and will be held May 15-17. Ten teams and two individuals, who are not a part of the 10 qualifying teams, will advance out of each of the three regionals to the championship finals. The championship will be played May 28-31 on the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind.