Monday, May 12, 2008

111th Annual Division 1 Men's Golf Championships: East Regional Preview

The 2008 NCAA D1 Golf Championships kick off Thursday at 3 sites nationwide. The East Regionals will be held this year at Council Fire Golf Club outside of Chattanooga, just along the border between Tennessee and Georgia. 27 teams (and a handful of individual qualifiers) will tee it up Thursday through Saturday, with 10 teams and 2 individuals (not otherwise qualifying via the team route) advancing to the Championship Finals on May 28th at Purdue University.

Let's face it, it would be an upset of monumental proportions if the #1 seed Georgia Bulldogs don't advance, much less if they don't win this Regional rather easily. Each of the Dawgs' Top 5 players reside in the Top 41 of Golfweek's current Collegiate Men's Individual Rankings. (By contrast, 17 of the teams in this regional don't have a single player ranked higher than the Dawgs' 5th ranked player according to Golfweek, Brian Harman.) Just to make it slightly more lopsided, two of the Dawgs' top 4 players, Adam Mitchell (Golfweek #10) and Harris English (#26) both spent their pre-UGA years in Chattanooga, and have logged countless rounds at Council Fire.

Charlotte is the #2 seed, and while the 49ers won their first tournament of the regular season at Council Fire back in September in impressive fashion, the host Chattanooga Mocs might actually stand to give UGA its closest competition in the Regionals. UTC won its last 3 tournaments of the season, beating fellow East Regional participants Ole Miss, UAB, Virginia Tech, and South Carolina. UGA head coach Chris Haack even named UTC the favorite for the Regional.

East Region Predictions (top 8 teams advance):

1) Georgia: disappointment at SEC Tournament (and 2007 NCAA runner-up finish) should make Dawgs even more focused for 2008 NCAAs.

2) UT-Chattanooga: something has to be said for sleeping in your own bed at night, not to mention they are pretty good anyway (3 players ranked in Golfweek Top 100.)

3) Charlotte: 3rd place team in 2007 NCAAs, won A-10 tournament by 23 strokes just 2 weeks ago, although largely "untested" in regular season.

4) South Carolina: finished 2nd to #1 Alabama at SECs, beating UGA by a stroke.

5) Auburn: started season strong, finished weak, disappointment at SEC's (8th.)

6) East Tennessee State: 100% European roster finished season well, 3rd in strong field at Augusta State Invitational, 2nd in Atlantic Sun tournament.

7) UAB: C-USA Champions have been a 2-man team all year, will need strong play from back end of the lineup to contend.

8) NC State: inconsistent squad could be a sleeper. 3rd at warm-up following ACC Championships.

9) Duke
10) Mississippi State

11) Michigan State
12) SMU
13) Virginia Tech
14) North Florida
15) Georgia State
16) Middle Tennessee State
17) UC-Irvine
18) Western Carolina
19) Augusta State
20) Memphis
21) Coastal Carolina
22) Ole Miss
23) Virginia
24) Colorado State
25) New Mexico State
26) Western Illinois
27) Jackson State

Sleeper: SMU

Individual Medalist: Adam Mitchell, UGA

Tuesday: Central Regional preview

1 comment:

ernest said...

David thanks for the report on the golf team. The DAWGS have been a golf powerhouse as long as I can remember.