UVa Men's Golf Team Set to Open Play at NCAA Championships
Pacific Palisades, Calif. – The Virginia men’s golf team will compete at the NCAA Championships starting Tuesday, May 29 at historic Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A total of 30 teams and six individual entries will tee off Tuesday on the par 71, 7,292 yard course beginning at 7 a.m. PT for the first of three days of stroke play. The top eight teams after 54 holes will advance to a three-day match play tournament for the NCAA title. Individual medalist honors will go to the top finisher after the initial 54 holes.
The Cavaliers start their first round at 2 p.m. PT from the No. 10 tee while paired with Liberty and Chattanooga. Those same teams will return to the course Wednesday for their second round at 8:40 a.m. PT from the No. 1 tee. The third round pairings are based on results after the first 36 holes.
Virginia reached the tournament after a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Central Regional at Michigan.
Riviera Country Club is the annual site for the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open (formerly the Los Angeles Open). The course has been the site of the 1948 U.S. Open and the PGA Championships in 1983 and 1995.
The Cavalier Lineup
Player Cl. Hometown Stroke Average
Ben Kohles Sr. Cary, NC 70.94
Denny McCarthy Fr. Rockville, MD 72.09
Ben Rusch So. Weinfelden, Switzerland 72.55
Bruce Woodall Sr. Yanceyville, NC 73.55
Ji Soo Park Fr. Clifton, VA 74.23
Five teams from six regional sites qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships. Here is the field (Golfstat ranking): Alabama (2), Auburn (4), California (3), Chattanooga , East Carolina, Florida (18), Florida State (19), Georgia (23), Illinois, Iowa (25), Kent State (17), Lamar, Liberty, Memphis, North Florida (11), Oklahoma, Oregon (7), San Diego State (10), Stanford (9), TCU, Texas (1), Texas A&M (15), Tulsa, UAB, UCF (20), UCLA (5), USC (6), Virginia (16), Virginia Tech and Washington (8).
The 2011 NCAA Championships mark the 14th time the Cavaliers have earned a bid to the national tournament. It marks the fourth time in the last five years Virginia has played at the NCAAs. In 2008 the Cavaliers placed 26th at the NCAAs, were 27th in 2009 and finished 11th in 2010, which matched the best showing in the program’s history. Former Virginia golfer Dixon Brooke won the NCAA individual crown in 1940, the second year of the championship. The Cavaliers finished 15th that year. Prior to 2010, UVa’s best NCAA finish came in 1946 when Virginia was 11th in an 18-team field.
In the Rankings
Virginia is ranked No. 16 in the current Golfstat standings and is No. 17 in the Golfweek poll. UVa’s Ben Kohles is ranked No. 12 in the Golfweek individual standings and is No. 16 in the Golfstat poll. Freshman Denny McCarthy is No. 20 in the Golfweek stats and No. 81 in the Golfstat poll.
Kohles Tops ACC Scoring
Following his runner-up finish at the NCAA Central Regional Championship, UVa senior Ben Kohles took over the lead in the ACC statistics for stroke average. Kohles leads the conference at 70.94, just ahead of Florida State’s Brooks Koepka (70.97). Kohles enters the NCAA Championships as the highest ranked ACC player, appearing No. 12 in the Golfweek standings and No. 16 in the Golfstat poll.
Virginia opened the season by winning the VCU Shootout with a school record score of 27-under 837. The Cavaliers went on to record five runner-up finishes during the season and placed outside of the top five in just two of 11 tournaments. UVa was the runner-up at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, the Cleveland Palmetto Intercollegiate, the Schenkel Invitational, Hootie @ Bulls Bay and the ACC Championships.
Kohles Sets Scoring Record
Senior Ben Kohles set the Virginia tournament scoring record and record for score in relation to par with an 18-under 198 (65,-66,-67) to win the Schenkel. The score was the second best by a Division I golfer this season and marked just the sixth time in ACC history a competitor had shot below 200 in a 54-hole tournament. He bettered current PGA Tour professional Steve Marino’s 200 (10-under) he posted in 2001 at the Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn. Marino was one of four former UVa players who shared the record for best score in relation to par at 11-under.
Kohles Becomes Wins Leader
UVa senior Ben Kohles became the program’s all-time wins leader when he picked up the seventh victory of his career at The Schenkel Invitational in March. Kohles earned his sixth win earlier in the spring with a first-place effort at the Cleveland Golf Intercollegiate. With his second-place effort at the NCAA Central Regional he recorded his 23rd top-10 finish to tie the school record in that category.
Rusch Wins ACC Title
Virginia sophomore golfer Ben Rusch drained a five-foot par putt on the final hole to win the 2012 ACC Championships in New London, N.C by a single stroke and become the first Cavalier to capture the individual title since 1955. Rusch, a native of Weinfelden, Switzerland, shot 3-under 69 during the final round’s rainy conditions for a 54-hole total of 10-under 206. Rusch started the final round in fifth place after turning in scores of 5- 67 during the opening round and 2-under 70 during the second round.
Senior Ben Kohles sophomore Ben Rusch and freshman Denny McCarthy were all named to the 2012 All-ACC squad. Rusch automatically made the team by virtue of winning the ACC individual title. The selections marked the first year since the All-ACC team was instituted in 1975 that three Cavaliers have been named to the all-conference team. McCarthy was also named the ACC’s Freshman of the Year. He is the third Cavalier to receive that honor and the first since Lewis Chitengwa in 1995. Kohles became just the second men’s golfer in UVa history to earn all-conference honors for three consecutive years. Simon Cooke was named All-ACC in 1994, 1995 and 1996.
U.S. Open Qualifiers
Cavalier senior Bruce Woodall and freshman Ji Soo Park advanced through local qualifiers earlier this month in their attempts to participate in the 2012 U.S. Open. Woodall won the Local Qualifier in Greensboro, N.C. at the Greensboro Country Club with a score of 67. Park was second at Clustered Spires Golf Club in Frederick, Md., with a 69. Sectional Qualifying takes place at 13 sites with 11 in the United States. The 2012 U.S. Open will take place June 11-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.