May 6, 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. - The Washington State golf program added another accomplishment to its historic season, Monday.
The Cougar men's golf team was selected to play in the NCAA West Regional, marking the first time in the program's history it has reached NCAA play.
"I am really excited the kids have a chance to play in the NCAA Regional," said coach Walt Williams, who was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year last week. "We are looking forward to the opportunity."
The 54-hole west regional will be at the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course in Albuquerque, N.M., May 16-18. The Cougars were selected as the region's 14th seed in the field of 27. The top 10 teams in the region will advance to the national championships, May 29-June 1, at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.
"We couldn't ask for anything more," said senior Jon Reehoorn of reaching the regionals, "but we don't plan on letting our season end in Albuquerque. We will do everything we can to the make it to Ohio State."
As the 14th seed, the Cougars will tee off at 12:45 p.m. (Mountain Time), May 16. WSU will be paired with 13th seed UCLA and 15th seed and Big West Conference champion UC-Irvine.
The Cougars are one of nine teams from the Pac-10 to advance to the West Region. USC earned the region's top seed while Washington (No. 5), Arizona (No. 9), Oregon (No. 11), UCLA (No. 13), Stanford (No. 18), Arizona State (No. 19) and California (No. 21) will also make the trek to New Mexico. Oregon State was the only team shut out of a team bid but David Yarnes did earn an individual selection for the Beavers ensuring that all 10 conference teams will be represented.
Although seeded in the middle of the field, the Cougars did defeat seven teams that are positioned ahead of them (Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Pepperdine, San Diego State, UCLA and Washington) at least once during the 2001-02 season.
"Prior to the season our goal was to advance to regionals," said Williams. "Since the beginning of the season we have reassessed that goal to reaching nationals. We are seeded in the middle of the field but if we play well, we have a chance to advance to nationals."
WSU has been amongst the nation's best throughout the season as the Cougars are currently ranked No. 24 by Golfstat and 27th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. In addition, Dustin White (No. 41) and Jon Reehoorn (No. 48) are rated as two of the top 50 players in the nation by Golfstat.
The Cougars lead the nation in fairways hit (.761) and greens in regulation (.689), according to May 2 Golfstat rankings. In addition, WSU is third in total short game (.576), fourth in par 4 scoring (4.12) and 10th in putts on greens in regulation (1.855). Individually, Reehoorn is third in total short game (.671), while White is seventh in the nation in par 5 scoring (4.60).
In the 13 tournaments the Cougars have competed in during the 2001-02 season, WSU has finished in the top-five in 11 with the lone exception being a sixth place finish at the Pacific Invitational, Oct. 23 and an eighth place finish at the conference championships, April 27.
Three Cougars captured individual titles during the spring season. Isaac Woods won the Inland Collegiate Challenge, Feb. 18 and White took the Coastal Carolina Invitational by seven shots, March 5, which earned the junior Golfworld Player of the Week honors for the March 15 issue. Reehoorn completed the trifecta with his victory at the Oregon Duck Invitational, March 26.
Monday's announcement came just a week after the women's team earned a berth in the West Regional, May 9-11 at Stanford, Calif., marking only the second time the women's team has advanced to the NCAA Regionals (2000).