ERIE - The NCAA Colorado Regional, one of six tournaments across the nation that will send five teams to the NCAA Men's Golf Championship Finals later this month, gets underway Thursday morning at Colorado National Golf Club. Due to heavy rains on Wednesday, Thursday's first round pairing have been pushed back 90 minutes, with the first tee time now to commence at 9:30 a.m. The second round is scheduled for Friday and the third and final round Saturday.
Thirteen teams, including No. 1 Oklahoma State, are vying for the top five spots, as those teams advance to the finals May 31-June 5 in Stillwater, Okla. The top individual not on a qualifying team will also advance to the finals.
CNGC will play to 7,758-yards (par-72), believed to be the longest course in NCAA championship history, with No. 15 measuring to 696 yards, also likely the longest hole. Below are the updated first round pairings for Friday (also linked to the right):
Oklahoma State, the nation's top ranked team in both the most recent Golfweek and GolfStat rankings, highlights the 13-team field, as the Cowboys are coming off a fifth consecutive Big 12 Conference title. The 13-team field, in seeded order, with Golfweek and Golf Stat rankings in parenthesis:
1. Oklahoma State (#1/#1); 2. Georgia (#12/#12); 3. Auburn (#9/#13); 4. Arizona State (#31/#24); 5. Clemson (#25/#25); 6. Chattanooga (#39/#35); 7. TCU (#40/#40); 8. North Florida (#45/#48); 9. New Mexico State (#52/#53); 10. Northwestern (#56/#57); 11. Colorado State (#65/#63); 12. San Jose State (#70/#70); 13. Denver (#129/#118).
Oklahoma State (Big 12), New Mexico State (WAC) and Denver (Sun Belt) were automatic qualifiers due to winning their conference championships.
Top-ranked individuals from the above schools include four in Golfweek's top 16, three from OSU: Peter Uihlein (#1), Kevin Tway (#3, son of PGA Tour pro Bob) and Morgan Hoffmann (#11, the Big 12 champion), while Auburn's Blayne Barber is 16th. Uihlein also leads the GolfStat Cup rankings.
In addition to the 13 teams, 10 individuals will also participate, in seeded order: Michael Whitehead (Rice), Gabe Maier (Wyoming), Steven Lecuyer (Central Arkansas), Derek Plucienski (Southern Miss), Michael McGowan (North Carolina), Geoff Gonzalez (Cal Poly), Jarred Bossio (Idaho), Andrew Wyatt (Nebraska), Cody Schweinefus (Drake) and C.G. Mercatoris (Robert Morris).
This will be the first NCAA event ever to be held at the course, which was renamed two years ago as the Colorado National Golf Course and is the home facility for the University of Colorado men's and women's teams. It hosted the inaugural CU-Mark Simpson Invitational last September, in which four teams that participated are in the NCAA field: CSU, which finished second, San Jose State (fourth), New Mexico State (fifth) and Denver (eighth).
San Jose State's Mark Hubbard was the medalist in the Simpson, his 69-70-70-209 scorecard good for a two-stroke victory. His teammate, Matt Hovan, and New Mexico State's Gaston De la Torre tied for third (212) with CSU's Ryan Peterson fifth (213).
Host Colorado did not qualify for the postseason, having gone 61-98-3 in playing the nation's 43rd toughest schedule (out of 303) against Division I competition during the regular season and a 10th place finish in school's final Big 12 championship appearance.
The other five regionals are being hosted by Virginia Tech, Florida, Indiana, Arizona and the University of San Diego.
The tournament is open to the general public and there is no charge for the event.