COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - The Texas A&M men's golf team is set to begin play at the NCAA Pullman Regional Monday morning. The three-day, 54-hole stroke play event will run from Monday, May 13 through Wednesday, May 15 at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club (par 70/7,246 yards). The Aggies, the four seed in the Regional, will tee off at 10 a.m. CT on Monday, playing alongside UCLA and BYU. The low five teams in the Regional, along with the low individual outside of the advancing teams will move on to the NCAA Championships.
"We are excited to be in this Regional and start playing. I really like this field, I like that no one has any home advantage," said head coach J.T. Higgins. "I would like to see us get out to a good start. When you play a good first round it can take a lot of pressure off and then you can just play golf. We know for Regionals we can always be sent anywhere so we like to be prepared for that. This type of travel is part of the reason we travel the way we do all year. These guys are used to plane flights and they're used to playing on different grasses and in different climates."
The Aggies are joined in the Regional by Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, UCLA, BYU, Colorado State, Florida, Michigan State, Purdue, Kent State, Northern Colorado, Wright State and Iona. Competing individually this week in Pullman will be Thomas Hutchinson (UC Davis), Zach Smith (UC Santa Barbara), Daniel O'Loughlin (Colorado), Tim Widing (San Francisco), Jake Chanen (Grand Canyon).
This is the 16th Regional appearance in the last 17 seasons for the Aggies as they are in search of their 32nd team appearance at the NCAA Championships. A season ago, A&M ended a three-year drought and advanced to the Championships after hosting and winning the Bryan Regional, shooting a school record 27-under. Chandler Phillips won the Regional for his fourth tournament victory of the season, good for second all-time at A&M, and claimed sole possession of the career tournament victories record with six. Brandon Smith also came up big for the Aggies at the Regional as he earned a second-place finish to help A&M advance and join Phillips as an All-American. Dan Erickson added a top-15 finish in the event to round out the scoring players for the Aggies.
A&M is coming off of its third SEC Championships semifinal appearance in the last four seasons after advancing to match play with a third-place finish in stroke play. Phillips tied for sixth individually, matching a tournament low single round score (65) in the second round. Freshman Sam Bennett helped the Aggies move on finishing 20th in his postseason debut. Smith nearly clinched a championship appearance for A&M with a resilient performance in the semifinals. He came back from three down through seven holes to even things up and force extra holes to decide the match. A long putt plagued him as eventual champion Arkansas was able to take advantage. Erickson and Walker Lee each earned match play wins for the Aggies to help position their team for victory and will also be in action in Pullman.
For updated stats and results, follow the Aggies in post season play here.