A Day at the NCAA Men's Golf Championships
May 29, 2008
by Jeff Smith
COURSE LIVING UP TO CHAMPIONSHIP STANDARDS
Word around the golf course Thursday was near unanimous support for the course's layout. Lance Ringler, Golfweek's leading college golf contributor said several of the coaches he has spoken to would be interested in playing the NCAA Championships annually in West Lafayette.
"Every coach here has told me it is one of the best championship courses they have ever seen," he said. "(Oklahoma State head coach) Mike McGraw, who has one of the premier courses in the country, said this is the best. He said he would play here all the time. I would expect to see it here once it comes back open again in the next five or six years."
Purdue head men's and women's golf coach Devon Brouse is pleased with how his home course is responding.
"The golf course is a good test," Brouse said. "It separates good play from bad play, which is how it should be."
The Boilermaker coach went on to say it was Purdue's intention to set the course up like a typical U.S. Open course. That means fast greens and thick rough. While Brouse said he initially wanted the greens rolling at 12.5 on the stimpmeter, but settled with the NCAA committee's recommendation of 11, he and course officials have not let up on the rough. Brouse said the first cut of rough off the fairway is two inches high, followed by an intermediate cut at just under four inches and deep spots that can reach over five. Out of bounds and the common tall-grass waste areas on the Kampen Course are measured anywhere from eight to 10 inches high.
If it was U.S. Open conditions Brouse was looking for, then congratulations to him. Ringler said it's as tough as they come.
"Not only is it extremely difficult, but everyone says it is extremely fair," he said. "I've had coaches and USGA rules officials saying they could get this course ready for a U.S. Open tomorrow."
Illinois head coach Mike Small, who has qualified for over 50 PGA Tour events, is no stranger to major championship setups. He has played in seven major championships and made the cut at the 2005 and 2007 PGA Championship. Small thinks the Kampen Course is a fair setup.
"It's set up to penalize errant shots," he said. "That's the way it should be."
WHERE ARE THEY?
THE LIONS' ROAR
MAYER AND NYE EARN REGIONAL COACHING HONORS
Mayer is in his 10th season at the helm of the Hoosiers and has guided his Indiana squad to its first NCAA Championships bid under his watch. Mayer, who helped Jorge Campillo to the individual Big Ten championship this year along with the team's fourth-place finish, also earned the distinction in 2006, the same season he named Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Nye has spent 16 seasons at Penn State and has led his Nittany Lion squad back to the national championships for a third time.
While being honored by his peers is certainly nice, Mayer is far more concerned on his team achieving at the highest level.
"Accolades are always nice to receive, but this is a team game," Mayer said. "I get excited about the team and each of our players. We know we have had a solid season. Our strength of schedule is the best it has ever been and we have competed against those top teams this year. I'm really proud of this team."
Following an impressive season in which the Nittany Lions were 115-16 in head-to-head competition, Nye views the award in the same light as Mayer.
"We leaked a little oil in the conference season, but we had a regular-season record that I've never seen anything like before," Nye said. "We were just so consistent, and why were we so consistent? Because we did it as a group and these coaching awards are group awards."
BIG TEN'S TOP FRESHMAN TACKLE PURDUE COURSE
Langley said after Thursday's round that there is no letup on the course and he knows his new title as the conference's top freshman will not earn him relief.
"You can bogey any hole out there," he said, "but the Freshman of the Year honor is not something I take lightly. It was a very cool honor and I am really thankful for it."
NURSING A LION BACK TO HEALTH
"He was just trying to remain standing during the spring," he said. "Now you're starting to see the kind of player he was this fall."
A WHOLE TEAM OF FRESHMEN?
Said DeForest: "All of us are really going through this together. All five of us are basically freshmen at this tournament, because Illinois hasn't been here. We're all just using each other and learning, taking our experiences and trying to figure it all out."
A LONELY BADGER
"I made it last year as an individual, but it would be a lot more fun if everyone else was here with me," he said. "It's frustrating for two years to get really close as a team and not make it. We'll see if we can do it next year."
NICE TO SEE DAD FOR ONCE
"It's the only time I've played well for him so far," Campillo said after Thursday's second-round 2-under-par 70.
IU head coach Mike Mayer noted that while he appreciates all the parental support on the team, having Campillo's father come was meaningful to both his son and the Hoosier team.
"To have someone fly all the way over from Spain to support their kid, that's a little extra special," Mayer said. "He's a great supporter of his son. I know Jorge is thrilled having him here and I know the team is equally thrilled."
Mayer is also hopeful the 2008 Big Ten champion will continue to give his dad rounds to be proud of.
"If we get lucky with the weather Friday afternoon, Jorge has a chance to advance into the final round, and if he gets there, I think he'll have a chance to win it all individually."
FOLLOWING THE PATH
"The path that we are on and where we're going is that we want to win the national championship," he said. "That's what this is all about. We want to recruit kids who have the dreams and desire to want to do that. The first step is obviously getting here. I wouldn't be putting in all this time and effort in if I didn't think I could do it. At Illinois we don't do things halfway."
FOLLOWING THE HOOSIERS
"We got the team together and we talked about making a memory," Mayer said. "We thought we'd look back at this thing in years to come and have this snapshot as a memory. Asher has been great to work with, my players have handed it very well, and it's great to get Indiana golf out there. It has been nothing but a positive experience."
To take the journey with Asher and the Hoosiers, follow this link.
FOLLOWING THE CHAMPIONSHIP