UNCW Men’s Golf team earns NCAA bid, seeded #9 in upcoming regional
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The UNCW Men’s Golf team will continue their pandemic-impacted season by getting the chance to win an NCAA championship.
The Seahawks earned an at-large bid to the NCAA regional May 17-19 at The Sagamore Club Noblesville, Indiana. UNCW will be the ninth-seed in the field of 13 teams, as Coach Daniel Bowden’s team makes their third straight appearance in the post-season.
“Just really excited,” said grad student Blake McShea after seeing the Seahawks’ seeding in the regional. “We really didn’t know what to expect, especially with our last in-season event getting cancelled and then obviously conference (CAA tournament) getting cancelled, we were a little disappointed. But, coming through as a nine-seed is pretty big. That just shows how well we played early in the season.”
“I think it shows we have a shot,” Bowden. “Hopefully we’re pretty close to those Top-25 teams, even though we didn’t get to play a lot of them this year due to COVID.”
There are six NCAA Regional sites across the country, with 30 teams earning automatic bids and 51 receiving at-large berths. The top 5 teams in each regional will advance to the NCAA Championship held May 28-June 2 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
UNCW did not compete in the CAA Championships last month because of COVID-19 issues in the program. The Seahawks haven’t played a tournament since the first week in April. McShea is not concerned about the layoff and thinks it may actually make the team hungrier.
“I believe we have a little more grit going into this tournament,” he said. “Not being able to play conference was a big letdown for us, we believed we could go out there and win that for the third year in a row. I think we’re going to come out stronger and with a little more grit than some of these other teams that got to play conference.”
“Finishing sixth or seventh is really not going to do a lot for you,” Bowden said about approaching the regional format. “It’s not like you’re going to pad your ranking. It’s just all about ‘Hey we need to get up near the top of the leader board as soon as we can. I think if we can give ourselves a chance in the final nine holes, our guys are competitive enough and like Blake said, they’re gritty enough, they’ll embrace that opportunity. I think that will bring out the best in them. Really just focused on preparing well and getting off to a good start, letting the competitive instincts and their talent take over.”
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