TCU Earns 23rd Straight NCAA Regional Bid
May 7, 2012
FORT WORTH – TCU received an at-large selection Monday to the NCAA Regional Men's Golf Championships for its 23rd consecutive postseason appearance. The Horned Frogs will be heading to the University of Michigan Golf Course in Ann Arbor, Mich., May 17-19 to compete as the No. 8 seed among a 13-team field.
The top-five finishes from each of the nation’s six regional sites will advance to compete at the NCAA Championship, which will be held May 28 through June 3 at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. In addition to those teams, the top individual finisher not on one of the advancing squads will also earn a bid to compete at nationals.
“We’re excited to get the opportunity to return to Regionals again this year,” Montigel said. “That’s one of our program’s main goals each and every year. We feel like we’re playing really well. I think we’re going to be successful in Ann Arbor.”
TCU owns the nation’s No. 41 ranking according to the most recent update from the Golfweek/Sagarin rating system. The squad finished second place at the Mountain West Championship last weekend in Tucson, Ariz. Joining the Frogs in Ann Arbor will be USC (top seed), Oregon, Kent State, Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kennesaw State, Purdue, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Navy.
With Montigel leading the TCU men’s golf program, the Frogs are one of only four teams in the country to appear at NCAA Regionals with the same coach for each of the last 23 seasons. The Frogs are joined in the select company with Clemson, UNLV and Florida. The bid also continues a streak that ranks as the longest team postseason run in TCU history for all sports. The TCU women’s golf program owns an active streak of 17 regional appearances to rank second in school history, while the Frog men’s tennis program advanced to 16 straight NCAA Regionals between 1991 and 2006.
“The streak speaks volumes to the kind of program we have here at TCU,” Montigel said. “We are really fortunate to have such great support from our administration that allows us to play in some of the great tournaments in college golf each year that help us to prepare for these national events. The Fort Worth community also provides us with overwhelming support, as our guys have the opportunity to play some outstanding courses on a daily basis.”
TCU will feature a lineup that includes two of the nation’s top golfers in freshman Julien Brun and senior Johan de Beer. Both Frogs are ranked among the nation’s top-40 golfers according to the Golfweek/Sagarin poll. TCU will be one of only three squads in the Ann Arbor Regional field with a pair of golfers in the top-40, along with Oregon and USC.
De Beer will serve as one of the lone veterans for a TCU squad that features two freshmen (Brun and Thomas Mantovanini) and one sophomore (Ian Phillips) in the lineup. Junior Daniel Jennevert, who has competed for TCU’s Regional squads the last two seasons, is the only other Frog in the five-man lineup with national postseason experience.
“I’ve been to Regionals three times and to the NCAA Championships twice in my career, and you really get the feeling of how different it is from the regular season,” de Beer said. “That being said, we do play in a tough conference, so this won’t be too much different for us than last weekend. If we play as well as we did at the conference tournament, we’ll have a good chance to advance to NCAAs.”
Brun, listed at No. 10 in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, is one of 10 semifinalists for The Ben Hogan Award presented annually to the top college golfer. He has posted three individual victories this season, while his overall season stroke average of 70.67 leads the team and is on pace to break current PGA TOUR pro J.J. Henry’s school record set in 1998 (71.08).
“I think if we play the way we are capable, we will be able to advance to the NCAA Championship,” Brun said. “We may be a young team, but we are still talented. We just need to treat this like any other tournament and we will be fine.”
As good as Brun has been for TCU in 2011-12, de Beer has actually been the squad’s most consistent golfer during the spring season. Ranked No. 39 nationally according to Golfweek, he recorded his second career victory during the past weekend with a two-shot win over Brun at the Mountain West Championship. His spring stroke average of 70.67 is equal to that of Brun, while he has finished in the top 10 on the individual leaderboard in each of the last five tournaments.
TCU will attempt to return to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2010. The Frogs have been to the tournament 12 times in Montigel’s tenure.