BATON ROUGE – The 17th-ranked and No. 3-seeded LSU men’s golf team will play host to NCAA postseason play for the first time in the program’s storied history this weekend as it tees off as part of a strong 13-team field at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional beginning with Thursday’s opening round at The University Club in Baton Rouge.
This marks the sixth-straight season in which the Tigers have earned an at-large berth to compete in NCAA Regional play dating back to the spring of the 2007-08 season.
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The 13 teams at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional will be competing for one of five qualifying spots into the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships being held May 27-June 2 at Capital City Club in Atlanta, Ga.
The Tigers hope to earn a spot in the 30-team field at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships for the third time in four seasons as they also advanced in 2010 with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional held in South Bend, Ind., and in 2011 with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Virginia Tech Regional held in Blacksburg, Va.
Tee times for Thursday’s opening round are set to begin on hole No. 1 at 8 a.m. CT and hole No. 10 at 8:20 a.m. Friday’s second round will get underway with tee times on No. 10 at 8 a.m. and No. 1 at 8:20 a.m. followed by Saturday’s final round with tee times beginning at 7:30 a.m. on No. 10 and 7:50 a.m. on No. 1.
The No. 3-seeded Tigers will play host to 12 teams from across the country at The University Club this weekend as the course will play to a par 72 and 7,436 yards for the regional championship.
While LSU will play host to its NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at The University Club in Baton Rouge, Golden Eagle Country Club (Tallahassee, Fla.), the Scarlet Course (Columbus, Ohio), the Blessings Golf Club (Fayetteville Ark.), Karsten Golf Course (Tempe, Ariz.) and Palouse Ridge Golf Club (Pullman, Wash.) will also serve as NCAA Men’s Golf Regional host sites this weekend.
The top five teams and top individual outside the top five teams at each regional site will earn the right to tee it up at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships in just two weeks.
LSU enters NCAA Regional play as the consensus No. 17-ranked team in the country in the Golfstat Top 25, Golfweek Top 25 and Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ Top 25 polls released over the past two weeks.
The NCAA Baton Rouge Regional features a Southern flair as the Tigers will be joined by No. 1 seed and No. 2-ranked Alabama, No. 2 seed and No. 10-ranked Florida, No. 4 seed and No. 23-ranked Mississippi State and No. 5 seed and No. 26-ranked Houston, as ranked by the Golfstat Top 25. Rounding out the regional field in order of seeding are No. 6 seed Northwestern, No. 7 seed Tennessee, No. 8 seed South Alabama, No. 9 seed Coastal Carolina, No. 10 seed UAB, No. 11 seed Wichita State, No. 12 seed Southeastern Louisiana and No. 13 seed Houston Baptist.
The Tigers are paired with SEC rivals Alabama and Florida in Thursday’s opening round as the top three seeds will tee off on the first tee beginning at 8 a.m. CT to kick off the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
“It’s a great honor for our program to have the opportunity to host an NCAA Regional for the first time,” said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. “We are looking forward to a great event here this weekend. We’re a part of a strong field this weekend in what should be a tight battle for the regional title and for those five spots advancing to the NCAA Championships.”
The Tigers have claimed an NCAA Regional selection again this year on the strength of a tremendous 2012-13 campaign in which they have won at least two tournament titles for the fifth-straight season as the reigning champions of the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate (Sept. 24-25) and David Toms Intercollegiate (Oct. 6-7) held in the fall.
This marks the sixth year in a row in which the Tigers have been selected in NCAA Regional play following a berth in the NCAA West Regional at Stanford in 2008, NCAA South Central Regional at Oklahoma State in 2009, NCAA Central Regional at Notre Dame in 2010, NCAA Blacksburg Regional at Virginia Tech in 2011 and NCAA Palo Alto Regional at Stanford again a season ago.
Thompson, a First-Team All-SEC selection, is the team’s leading scorer on the season with a career-best 72.9 scoring average in 11 tournament starts as he enters the weekend as the No. 8-ranked player in the SEC and the No. 39-ranked player nationally in the latest Golfweek rankings for his sophomore season. He has claimed two top-five and four top-10 finishes in his 11 appearances for the Tigers in 2012-13.
A native of Coral Springs, Fla., Thompson claimed his first collegiate victory by sharing medalist honors with sophomore teammate Stewart Jolly at the 2012 Shoal Creek Intercollegiate back during the fall season.
Presley recently earned his second-straight Second-Team All-SEC selection as one of the nation’s premier performers as he follows Thompson with a 73.0 scoring average with his 11 starts as the team’s second-leading scorer. He boasts an impressive resume with a team-leading three top-five and five top-10 finishes on the year, including a victory at the 2012 David Toms Intercollegiate in the fall.
The Fort Worth, Texas, native joins Thompson as one of the Top 50 players in the country this spring as he ranks No. 9 in the SEC and No. 46 in the NCAA in the latest Golfweek individual player rankings.
Rounding out LSU’s lineup at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional will be Jolly, sophomore Myles Lewis and freshman Zach Wright. Presley, Thompson and Jolly each return to LSU’s lineup following their regional debut for the Tigers at Stanford a year ago. Both Lewis and Wright are set to make their first career NCAA Regional start this weekend.
The Tigers finished in 10th place in the 13-team NCAA Palo Alto Regional last spring as Thompson tied for 37th place, Jolly tied for 51st place and Presley tied for 55th place on the individual leaderboard. It snapped a run of two-straight NCAA Championships appearances for LSU that included a 24th-place finish in 2010 and 21st-place finish in 2011 at the national tournament.