For the tenth straight year the SMU men's golf team is going to the NCAA Regionals. Selected as an eighteen seed in the East Region, the Mustangs will head to Chattanooga, Tennessee, May 15h through the 17th.
"Each year that's one of our main goals. To get the National Championship we have to go to a regional, so we accomplished one of our goals," SMU Coach Jay Loar told Ponystampede.com.
Once at a regional there are two options. Play well or go home. A total of ten teams and two individuals from each regional will advance. For SMU, a trip to the National Championship would be their fourth in six seasons.
After losing two crucial seniors from last year's team, not many predicted a season of success for SMU.
"I'm proud of this team. After losing seniors Colt Knost and Scott Sikes from last year's team, they really pulled together in the spring….I don't think many expected us to make the regionals," said Coach Loar.
Not many expected the great play of first year player Kelly Kraft. Kraft was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year by the league's coaches. A native of Denton, he had a strong first season on the Hilltop, twice earning Conference USA Men's Golfer of the Week honors.
Kraft claimed medalist honors at the Louisiana Classics Golf Tournament and finished second at the Diet Pepsi Shocker Classic. "He was definitely one of our keys….He has been a confident player for us and has a bright future. He plays like a veteran and is not awed by the college game."
The East Regional will be a tough one for the Mustangs. Five of the Golfweek Top 15 will be in the region.
"We have beaten teams in the East Regional. I think we match up real well in the East," stated Coach Loar. The regional will be played at Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga, Tenn. "I don't know much about the course……We will have to go low. The course is only 6900 yards. Being a Tennessee course they will probably have some good size tree line fairways. The NCAA picks some good courses."
If SMU advances to the National Championship, it will be conducted May 28th through the 31st at the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Indiana.