Hoosiers Advance to NCAA Finals for First Time Since 1996
May 17, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ohio - For the first time since 1996, the Indiana men's golf team advanced to the finals of the NCAA Championships. The Hoosiers shot a 304 in the final round of the 2008 NCAA Central Regional on Saturday to give them a 54-hole total of 901 (300-297-304), good for 10th place at Ohio State's Scarlet Course (par 71; 7,455 yards).
"I am so proud of this team right now," Indiana head coach Mike Mayer, who brought the program to its fourth NCAA appearance in the last five years, said. "Wow, we just played so tough the entire day. This was a consummate team effort. Throughout the regional I thought the team fought together and worked together as well as they have all year. Our guys had the courage to get the job done and they deserve to advance to the NCAA championships."
The top 10 teams from the three national regionals earned automatic spots into the finals of the NCAA Championships, and IU claimed the last spot out of the Central Regional. Entering the day in a tie for 10th place, the Hoosiers staved off Tennessee by one stroke to gain entry into the finals.
Indiana will be one of 30 teams competing for the national championship at Purdue University's Kampen Golf Course. The finals of the NCAA Championships will be held on Wednesday-Saturday, May 28-31.
Battling heavy winds and difficult overall playing conditions, the Hoosiers sat at 21-over par through their first 12 holes before coming in at 1-under par over the final six. Junior Jorge Campillo played the stretch in 2-under, while junior Drew Allenspach rebounded from a bogey at his 13th hole with three consecutive birdies to match Campillo's 2-under. Junior Seth Brandon added a 1-over par, as sophomore Alex Martin finished one stroke behind Brandon for the aggregate 1-under total.
After Tennessee's final two golfers finished bogey-bogey, the Hoosiers waited for the afternoon pairings to wrap up and saw their NCAA Championship dreams become a reality when Arkansas, the latest remaining team with a shot to top IU, slide down the leaderboard.
"If you would have asked me if any team in the field could finish the way we did, I would have said no way. We felt all along we deserved to make it out of here and we never gave up," Mayer said. "We had the opportunity to give up, but hung in there and got it done."
Campillo paced Indiana the entire regional and finished the 141-player field in a share of fifth place. The Big Ten Golfer of the Year shot a 73 for the second consecutive round to go along with an opening even-par 71.
His 217 total fell three shots shy of medalist winner Kevin Tway of Oklahoma State (70-69-75). The Big Ten champion rallied from a 4-over par start through 11 holes with birdies at the par-5 fourth and the par-3 eighth holes.
"It was good to see Jorge play this well with all the national talent in this field," Mayer said. "Jorge got to show off his talent and proved he is one of the top golfers in the country. We knew he could play with the best and it was really nice to see him come out here and do it."
Brandon closed out the regional in a tie for 33rd place at 225. The Dalton, Ga., native wrapped up his final round with a 76 on the heels of a second-round 72 and a 77 in round one. Brandon also held a 4-over total through his first 11 holes and kept it together, coming in with a 1-over par over the final seven holes.
Allenspach turned in the most important three holes of the Hoosiers' season. With the team struggling and sitting at 5-over par himself, Allenspach delivered birdies on the par-3 fifth, the par-5 sixth and the par-4 seventh holes to match Campillo's team-best score of 73.
"Drew Allenspach was the difference," Mayer said. "His three birdies got us going. He got us going. I could not be happier for Drew."
After a disappointing 79-78 start, Allenspach's final round propelled him into a share of 75th place with a 230.
Martin and true freshman Ren Han posted 82s, but Martin's 2-over on the final six holes helped catapult Indiana into the 10th position. He ended the tournament at 232, which placed him in a tie for 89th place, with scores of 76 and 74 in the first two rounds.
Han netted a share of 133rd place with a 243 total. He kicked off the regional with a 76 before his 85-82 finish.
Wake Forest (879) won the Central Regional by 10 strokes over Oklahoma State. Illinois, Florida, Louisville, Alabama, Texas A&M, Kent State, Penn State and Indiana joined the Demon Deacons and Cowboys in advancing to the NCAA Championships.
IU heads into the finals of the NCAA Championships with a great familiarity of the Kampen Course. The Hoosiers have played the course each of the past five years, including April 19-20 of this season. Indiana tied for third and Campillo picked up the second of his three consecutive victories to close out the spring at the 2008 Boilermaker Invitational.
"We are very happy right now, but we are not happy just making it to the NCAA Championships. We have some work to do," Mayer said. "I know we are going to feel good and comfortable playing at Kampen. We're happy to have the opportunity to compete for a national championship."
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