May 13, 2009
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AUSTIN, Texas - The Lamar men's golf team will begin its quest for the program's sixth NCAA Championship appearance and third in the last four years when it opens play at the NCAA Austin Regional on Thursday at the University of Texas Golf Club.
Lamar is seeded seventh in the 13-team field which also includes ten individual competitors. The Cardinals are making their ninth-consecutive regional appearance and tenth overall since the regional format was introduced in 1989. The Cardinals have advanced out of the regional four times before, including in 2006 and 2007 when they finished ninth and tied for third in the nation, respectively.
Listed at 7,412 yards and a par 71, this will be the longest course for the Cardinals all season, but that is something third-year head coach Brian White feels plays to his team's strength.
"With the length that our guys are capable of playing to, as long we keep it in the fairway we can score low out here," White said.
"But today we had 20 mile-per-hour winds during the practice round so that could play a major role if it continues."
Senior Justin Harding, who is coming off his tie for first at the Southland Conference Championship, will bring his two previous years of NCAA Regional experience to the course along with his team-high two top-five finishes in the spring and a season scoring average of 73.96.
Junior Hugues Joannes leads the team with a 73.03 stroke average and is the only player to have all 32 rounds this season count towards the daily total at each of the 11 previous tournaments.
Senior Leroux Ferriera is second on the team with a 73.69 stroke average and ranks first with eight top-20 finishes over the 11 events this year.
Freshman Kevin Hesbois will look to continue his strong play following his tie for fifth at the SLC Championship. The first-year Cardinal has played his last six rounds to a 71.3 average with four of them under par.
Freshman Xavier Feyaerts will be in the middle spot in the lineup and bring a 74.60 stroke average to the course on Thursday. The 2009 SLC Freshman of the Year is one of just three players to record two sub-70 rounds in the same tournament this season and the only one to do so over the seven spring events.
Lamar is coming off its 23rd SLC Championship in which the Cardinals fired their second-lowest tournament score of the season with an 859 total on the 7,276-yard layout at The Club at Comanche Trace.
For the second-consecutive year, UT Arlington, which is seeded ninth, is at the same regional site as Lamar. The regional also has a distinctive SLC feel to it with five individuals from three additional member schools in the 75-player field.
The top five teams and the highest placing individual not on one of those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship, set for May 26-30 in Toledo, Ohio, at the Inverness Club.
The Cardinals will be paired with eighth-seeded Michigan and ninth-seeded UT Arlington in Wednesday's first round. The five groups of those teams will begin on No. 1 at 9:20 a.m.