How do College Golf Teams Qualify for Regionals?
Tiger Woods is arguably the most successful ex-college golfer in the world today.
However, he isn’t the only PGA player to have played in the college ranks.
Plenty of tour players graced the greens of college golf, including John Daly (Arkansas), Jon Rahm (Arizona State) and Phil Mickelson (Arizona State).
Not all college golfers can turn professional, and it takes something a little special to be a PGA Tour pro.
The men’s NCAA Division I Championship is played during May and June, while the women’s tournament takes place in May.
Both showcase the best individuals and universities in golf.
But the question is: how do college golf teams qualify for regionals and move on to the championship?
The college golf season
To get to the regional tournament, teams will play a regular season against rival schools.
Of course, the record that each team and individual player posts will decide on whether they are selected.
At the end of every regular season, teams will compete in their respective conference tournaments.
The teams who win their conference tournaments are automatically entered into the regional.
The other schools that qualify for regional tournaments are selected by a committee of college golf experts.
They select teams based on their performances during the year.
If an individual player performs well in the conference tournament, but their team doesn’t, there is still a chance they can make the regionals.
The best player from a team which does not qualify for regionals will move on to the next round to play individually.
Since 2009, the men’s college golf tournament has been a stroke play and match play event.
According to the NCAA, six, 54-hole tournaments are played in the month of May.
In the regionals, 81 teams and 45 individual golfers who don’t attend the schools being represented by their teams, also qualify for the regionals.
At the end of the regional tournaments in May, the five teams and five individual players with the lowest scores advance to the final round.
College golf tournaments
A college golf tournament can feature as many as 20 teams competing during the regular season.
Due to the length it takes to play a golf tournament, typically three to five days, the season runs from the start of the school year in the fall until the spring.
The average college golf team can play two tournaments a month.
Which means student athletes are away from campus quite often during the year.
Travel, practice and tournaments can have quite the impact on studies.
So, the players who have succeeded in golf and gained their degrees can thank their work ethic and drive.
Although there is a conference tournament at the end of the regular season, tournaments feature teams from all over the United States.
Teams have five players, but only the four best scores are counted at the end of each round.
It is important to note that college golf is about the team, rather than the individual.
Although there is focus on individual players throughout the year, it isn’t like in the professional ranks.
Teams win together and lose together in the college game.
Top college golf programs
Yale holds the record for the most NCAA DI golf national titles.
The only problem for the university is it hasn’t won a tournament since 1943.
In the modern era, only two teams have repeated as champions since 2000.
Oklahoma State, Alabama and Augusta State have won two or more NCAA golf titles post millennium.
The 2017 winner, Oklahoma, won its second all-time championship.
The university’s first came in 1989.
Just like in other collegiate sports, some schools are just stronger than others.
A lot of the schools that win the national title come from California or southern states.
The warm weather definitely plays a part in the individual players and the team’s ability to play all year-round.
In 2016, USA Today, claimed Vanderbilt University to be the top college for men’s golf.
Thanks to the school graduating every men’s golf team member for over a decade, the school was declared the best in the country.
Based on national titles, however, Vanderbilt has never won a college championship.
That could change as Scott Limbaugh gets more time under his belt as the school’s head coach.
While not all of Vanderbilt’s players have gone onto professional golf careers, some have found careers in golf to continue their love of the sport.
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