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MSU, Ole Miss, Alabama men's golf teams set to begin regional play

 

From Special Reports

 

 

BRYAN, Texas -- The Mississippi State, Ole Miss, and Alabama men's golf teams will open NCAA Championship Regional play Monday. 

 

MSU and Ole Miss will kick off play at the Bryan (Texas) Regional at the par-72, 7,146-yard Traditions Club. 

 

The three-round, 54-hole event will run through Wednesday. 

 

No. 7 Alabama will open play at the Stockton (Calif.) Regional on the par 72, 7,132-yard Reserve at Spanos Park layout. 

 

"This is the time of year we all look forward to," said MSU coach Dusty Smith, who has the Bulldogs in the postseason in his first year. "Our guys have earned this opportunity, and I am excited to watch them compete this week. This week is going to be a great test for our team." 

 

MSU will make its first regional appearance since the 2013-14 season. 

 

Texas A&M will play host to the 13-team regional that also will feature Baylor, Clemson, Kentucky, UCLA, Ole Miss, South Carolina, San Francisco, Georgia, UNC-Wilmington, Northern Colorado, and Bradley. MSU is the No. 10 seed. 

 

Smith's regional starting lineup includes the same five players who have played in four consecutive tournaments. 

 

For the 11th time in as many tournaments, sophomore Peng Pichaikool, senior Taylor Grant and sophomore Garrett Johnson occupy the first three spots. Senior Taylor Bibbs and freshman Cameron Clarke fill out the lineup card. 

 

Freshman Hunter Hammett is with the team as a substitute. 

 

For the 11th time in program history, Ole Miss, which is No. 31 in Golfweek's national rankings and the coaches poll and No. 34 Golfstat's national poll, is making its 11th appearance in the NCAA regionals. It is the sixth seed in the regional.  

 

The Rebels earned their berth by ranking in the top 50 of national rankings throughout the year. Playing in 11 tournaments, Ole Miss finished in the top five seven times. The Rebels recorded five top-three finishes, including a win at the Hootie at Bulls Bay (March 25-27). The victory at The Hootie came via comeback as Ole Miss erased a six-shot deficit with a school-record 269 (-19) in the final round. 

 

Beau Briggs, Josh Seiple, Kerry Sweeney, Braden Thornberry, and Cecil Wegener will play for Ole Miss. This will be the third-straight tournament with this lineup, a group that finished third at the Old Waverly Collegiate Championship (April 16-17) and advanced to the match play portion of the Southeastern Conference Championships (April 25-29).  

 

This is Alabama's second-straight season playing on the West Coast for regionals. Last season, Alabama tied for third at the Washington (Sammamish) Regional to advance to the NCAA Championship, where it finished 17th. 

 

Pacific University is playing host to the Stockton Regional, which features No. 1 seed and sixth-ranked LSU, followed by the No. 2 seed and seventh-ranked Crimson Tide. Together, the Tigers and Tide are two of a record 14 Southeastern Conference teams who earned a spot in the NCAA tournament. The rest of the 13-team field includes: No. 3 seed and 18th-ranked Stanford, No. 4 and 19th-ranked USC, No. 5 and 30th-ranked Oregon, No. 6 and 31st-ranked TCU, No. 7 Colorado, No. 8 Kansas, No. 9 Kennesaw State, No. 10 Iowa State, No. 11 UNC Greensboro, No. 12 UC Irvine, and No. 13 North Dakota State. 

 

Alabama's lineup for the weekend remains the same as the previous three tournaments. Senior Lee Hodges and junior Davis Riley, both of whom earned first-team All-SEC honors and are ranked among the top 20 golfers in the nation, lead the way. 

 

Senior Jonathan Hardee and freshmen Davis Shore and Wilson Furr round out the starting five.  

 

The top five teams from each of the six regional sites and the top individual finisher not on an advancing team will move on to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship on May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The national championship will feature 30 teams and six individuals. 

 

Live scoring can be found at www.Golfstat.com.

 

 

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