The Mississippi State men's golf team received a postseason NCAA regional invitation for the second-straight year and will be participating in the Illinois Regional on May 15-17. MSU assistant coach Sean Covich talked one-on-one with Gene's Page about the upcoming regional.
What was the reaction of the players when they saw that they had made a regional again?
"We were watching it. We knew we were going but it just happened to play out that we were selected in the last regional that was shown. We are excited to go to a different part of the country. To go to the midwest and play teams like Illinois, Purdue and also teams like California and UAB is exciting for us. It is going to be a good experience and something that everybody is excited about."
Your team is going to an NCAA regional, the second straight year to do that. What are your thoughts about doing that?
"Our goal is to make it to regionals every year. And the last two years we have done that. Last year we missed going to the nationals because we didn't make it through the Baton Rouge Regional. We left Baton Rouge with a bad taste in our mouths, but we returned four of the five players from last year. While the regular season is important to us, we have been waiting for our chance to make it to a regional and make it to the national championship."
Last year, making it to the regionals was a first for your players. This year it won't be new to them. How much will that experience help them?
"Last year after the SEC Championship we knew we were going to a regional. But it was a new success for us. Then, we had a month between the SEC and the regional. And we really didn't maintain our intensity and it showed in the regional. We didn't play well there and didn't advance.
"This year, we also knew we were going to regionals but there is a different mentality about it. We know we have to maintain the intensity and continue to work hard. We aren't just happy to make a regional. Our seniors want to advance to the national championship. And they have been working hard to make it happen. We are ready to go to Chicago and see what happens."
You really haven't played in the midwest. How do you prepare for playing a course like that?
"I guess we can draw back to when we played on Ohio State's golf course in September. That is sort of similar because it's midwest golf and the grass is similar. We can probably draw a little from that but, you are right, we don't see that day-in and day-out.
"However, I feel like our team is built for regionals like this. We have some good ball-strikers who are long off the tee. The courses up north tend to be a little longer, which is more of a ball-strikers course. Hopefully, that will be the case there."
Have any of your players participated in midwest courses during the summer months?
"Chad Ramey played in a big amateur event that was in Pennsylvania. It's not midwest golf but is somewhat similar. Axel has played in events throughout the world. So, we have guys who have played in different parts of the country and even the world."
You'll be able to practice on the course prior to the regional. How much practice time will you have on the course?
"You only get one practice round and that is the day before the regional. That is the same for all of the teams. The home team, Northern Illinois, didn't qualify, so that is an advantage for us because we don't have to play the home team."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.