May 8, 2007
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Six Big Ten men's golf teams and one individual were selected on May 7 to compete in NCAA Regional competition. Big Ten co-Champion Michigan State, the No. 10 seed, was one of five conference squads invited to the Central Regional along with co-Champion and No. 11 seed Minnesota, No. 13 Northwestern, No. 15 Wisconsin and No. 16 Purdue, while 17th-seeded Penn State was selected to the East Region. In addition, Indiana's Jorge Campillo was invited as an individual to compete at the Central Regional.
The three regionals, which consist of 27 teams each, are scheduled for May 17-19, and the top 10 teams and two individuals in each region will advance to the NCAA Championships, May 30-June 2, held on the Gold Course at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg, Va. The 72-hole event is being hosted by Virginia Commonwealth.
The Central Regional will be played at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Michigan State received the Big Ten's automatic bid to NCAA Regional competition after winning its first conference title since 2005. The Spartans, led by Big Ten Coach of the Year Mark Hankins and Player of the Year Matt Harmon, will be looking to earn their 16th NCAA Championship bid and first since 1993.
The Golden Gophers are coming off their third Big Ten title in the past six years and are led by head coach Brad James and first-team All-Conference standouts Niall Turner and Bronson La'Cassie. Minnesota is making its 15th straight NCAA Regional appearance and is looking for another chance to bid for the national championship. The 2002 NCAA Champions finished tied for third last season - their second top-three finish at the event in the last five seasons.
Northwestern, which has earned its 23rd all-time trip to NCAA Regional competition, is looking to make back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Championships after placing 25th a year ago in Sunriver, Ore. Pat Goss' Wildcats will be led by second-team All-Conference selection David Merkow as well as 2006 Big Ten Champion Chris Wilson.
The Badgers qualified for their first NCAA appearance since 1994 and fourth regional team appearance overall. It is the first NCAA qualifying bid for fourth-year head coach Jim Schuman, who has led Wisconsin to nine top-five finishes in tournaments this season including fifth in the conference meet, the team's best Big Ten finish since 1999.
The Boilermakers are coming off a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and will be led into regional competition by seniors Pariya Junhasavasdikul and Peter Richardson. Junhasavasdikul was the conference's individual champion and Les Bolstad Award winner for the season's lowest stroke average. The Boilermaker standout also earned first-team All-Big Ten laurels, while Richardson was named to the second team for the fourth time in his career.
For the fifth straight season, Indiana will have a presence in postseason play as Campillo earned a spot in the NCAA Central Regional as an individual. Campillo, a first-team All-Big Ten honoree, enters with a 73.37 stroke average and has posted eight top-10 finishes in 12 events this season, including two victories.
Penn State will head to The Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, Ga., for the East Regional. The Nittany Lions will be competing in their 14th NCAA Regional in 15 seasons under head coach Greg Nye. Junior Robert Rohanna, a first-team All-Conference selection, anchored the lineup this season and was aided by Big Ten Freshman of the Year and second-team honoree Kevin Foley.
Currently, five of the six active Big Ten squads are ranked in the nation's top 50 by Golfweek/Sagarin. No. 26 Michigan State is followed by No. 29 Minnesota, No. 36 Northwestern, No. 45 Purdue and No. 47 Wisconsin. Penn State is ranked 79th.