May 15, 2007
SUGAR GROVE, Ill. - Lamar University, who captured its second straight Southland Conference men's golf championship, will be making its seventh straight NCAA Central Regional appearance as the No. 3 seed, which is being hosted by Northern Illinois University at Rich Harvest Farms.
Lamar, who is ranked No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index and No. 5 in the Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Poll, is making its seventh straight NCAA Central Regional appearance and eighth all-time in school history since the regional format was started in 1990.
Each of the three NCAA Regionals consists of 27 teams and six individuals not on one of those teams. All three regionals will be contested May 17-19 and will consist of 54 holes, 18 each day. The top 10 teams from each regional and top two individuals not on an advancing team will advance to the NCAA Championship May 30-June 2 at Golden Horseshoe Gold Club in Williamsburg, Va.
The Cardinals placed five golfers on All-Southland Conference teams led by junior Dawie Van Der Walt, who was named SLC player of the year. Also earning All-SLC first-team honors were sophomore Oliver Bekker, junior Casey Clendenon and sophomore Justin Harding. Senior Dusty Smith was a second-team All-SLC selection, marking the third straight season he has earned All-SLC honors.
Lamar has won six tournament titles this season, which is tied with Stanford for the most of any NCAA Division I school. The Cardinals have won four of their last five tournaments heading into the NCAA Central Regional, culminating with the SLC Championship. Lamar leads the SLC with a 288.19 team scoring average over 36 rounds this season and the Cardinals have the top four individual scoring averages led by Van Der Walt (70.44), followed by Bekker (72.66), Clendenon (72.22) and Harding (72.54). Smith has a 73.62 season scoring average.
All four of those players are ranked among the top 100 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index led by Van Der Walt at sixth, followed by Bekker (33), Clendenon (68) and Harding (90). Harding led the team with three tournament wins this season.
The Cardinals posted a best-ever fifth-place finish at last year's NCAA Central Regional at Sand Ridge Golf Club in Chardon, Ohio. Lamar advanced to the NCAA Championship at Crosswater Golf Club at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore. and tied for ninth place.
Individually, Van Der Walt placed third at the NCAA Central Regional and fourth at the NCAA Championship with a 72-hole score of 7-under 281. Smith tied for 10th place at the NCAA Championship with a 72-hole score of 2-under 286.
Lamar heads a list of eight teams from Texas competing at the NCAA Central Regional. Texas A&M is the No. 4 seed, followed by Texas (No. 8), TCU (No. 9), Texas Tech (No. 14), SMU (No. 18), Baylor (No. 19) and Texas Southern (No. 27). Fellow SLC member Southeastern Louisiana, who finished second to the Cardinals at the SLC Championship, received an at-large bid to the NCAA Central Regional and is the No. 12 seed.