The Sam Houston men’s golf team makes history Thursday morning when the Bearkats tee off at 9:10 a.m. at the 2014 NCAA Division I Regional Championships at Auburn, Alabama.
Zach Cabra, Albert Miner, Logan Boatner, Klein Klotz and Andrew Johnson comprise the first Sam Houston men’s golf team to compete in the NCAA Regionals in the Kats' 27 seasons at the NCAA Division I level.
The Bearkats will tee off on the 10th hole on Auburn Country Club’s 7,254-yard, par 72 course. Defending NCAA national champion Alabama from the Southeastern Conference is the event’s top seed.
Other teams entered (in order of their seeding) are Virginia Tech, Texas, Auburn, New Mexico, BYU, Kennesaw State, Colorado, Louisville, UNC-Greensboro, UC-Davis, Saint John’s and Alabama State. The Kats are the tournament’s No. 12 seed.
The field includes individuals Blake Morris (Ole Miss), JD Tomlinson (Florida), Jared Bettcher (Troy), Marco Iten (Austin Peay) and Theodore Lederhausen (Harvard).
“This is such a great field and we’re excited to be a part of it,” Sam Houston head coach Brandt Kieschnick said. “The quality of play will be so high. There definitely will be some players here that are going on to play on the PGA circuit."
Sam Houston arrived in Auburn Tuesday night and played a practice round at Auburn Country Club Wednesday.
“It’s an outstanding and challenging course that really puts a premium on where you drive the ball on your tee shot,” Kieschnick said.
An early afternoon rain ended the Kats’ practice round with three holes to play, but the head coach believes the squad learned a lot from Wednesday’s play.
“One of the keys to our success at the end of the season was the team’s ability to focus and stay disciplined,” Kieschnick said. “We had a great opportunity today to learn the course. At this level, everyone can hit to ball. You have to be disciplined and play intelligently to succeed.”
Sam Houston earned its team berth in the NCAA Regional by winning the Southland title two weeks ago in McKinney.
Cabra was the Southland individual medalist champion and Miner finished fourth individually. Both earned All-Southland honors.
The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams will advance from the regional to the finals May 23-25 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Seven times in the past, Sam Houston players have participated in the regional tournament as individual at-large selections. Jeff Bellnap’s 13th place finish in 1990 marks the highest a Bearkat has placed in NCAA men’s golf competition.