Golf

Golf teams coming to the NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional are announced. Is CCU one of them?

Coastal Carolina senior Morgan Deneen tied a school record with a 63 in the second round of the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Championship. Because CCU wasn’t selected for an NCAA regional berth on Wednesday, Deneen’s college career ended with the Chants’ semifinal loss in this year’s Sun Belt tournament.
Coastal Carolina senior Morgan Deneen tied a school record with a 63 in the second round of the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Championship. Because CCU wasn’t selected for an NCAA regional berth on Wednesday, Deneen’s college career ended with the Chants’ semifinal loss in this year’s Sun Belt tournament. jlee@thesunnews.com

Coastal Carolina is hosting an NCAA men’s golf regional, but it will not be participating in it.

The Chanticleers are hosting the NCAA Myrtle Beach Regional at TPC Myrtle Beach from May 13-15, but they were not selected Wednesday night by the NCAA men’s golf regional committee.

Coastal is ranked 62nd in the nation in the Golfstat.com rankings, which is considered to annually be at or near the cutoff line for NCAA selection. But no teams that finished worse than 60 this year were chosen for at-large berths.

Coastal had a fairly strong spring season, but did not earn the Sun Belt Conference’s automatic NCAA berth, finishing second in the stroke play portion of the conference tournament before losing to Arkansas State in the semifinals of the match play portion that determined the tournament champion.

“The committee went straight off the Golfstat ranking and 60 was the magic number,” said CCU coach Jim Garren, whose team won the conference tournament in 2018. “. . . It’s hard to swallow looking at the 10 seeds [in three regionals] knowing we are 5-1 [against] and 56 shots ahead of Purdue, Georgia Southern and Mississippi State this spring.”

CCU junior Zack Taylor, ranked 102nd in Golfstat’s individual rankings, was one of five players selected as individuals in the TPC regional.

No. 60 Southern Methodist (SMU) was selected for a regional, but No. 61 Kansas State, No. 64 College of Charleston and No. 65 San Diego State were not selected. No. 63 New Mexico won the Mountain West Conference Tournament to earn an automatic entry.

The Sun Belt Conference has two teams in regionals, as No. 58 Georgia Southern, which finished first in the stroke play portion of the conference tournament, and conference championship winner Arkansas State will have a chance to reach the NCAA finals.

CCU was hurt in the Golfstat rankings by losses in their only meetings against SMU and Iowa, which were each forced to take last-place finishes in tournaments in which they were disqualified. With the DQ’s, Iowa finished 42nd and SMU 60th in Golfstat’s ranking, and CCU’s ranking could have moved inside the top 60 had the DQs not occurred.

“We needed a human element and didn’t get it,” Garren said of the regional selections.

CCU’s regional is one of six 54-hole regional tournaments on May 13-15. Thirteen teams and 10 individuals not on those teams will compete at each of three regionals while the other three regionals will have 14 teams and five individuals.

The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the finals from May 24-29 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Coastal and the Myrtle Beach Regional Sports Alliance are hosting the 14-team Myrtle Beach Regional at the TPC in Murrells Inlet.

The top five seeds at the TPC are Wake Forest, California, Texas Tech, Illinois and Florida State, followed by UNLV, Oregon, Ohio State, Northwestern, Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton, Middle Tennessee, Virginia Commonwealth and Robert Morris.

Individuals joining Taylor at TPC are Jack Lang of Davidson, Florian Schroedl of Farleigh Dickinson, and Bobby Bai and Kyler Tate of Central Florida.

In his first year at CCU, Taylor is one of only two Chants to play in all 11 tournaments this season. He has posted a team-best 71.27 stroke average on the year and recorded a team-high 19 rounds of par or better, including 11 in the 60’s.

He shot a 64 in the final round of the Sun Belt tournament, which is tied for the second-lowest 18-hole score in CCU history, and also shot a 66 in the second round of the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate, which is tied for the fourth-best 18-hole score in CCU history.

The top CCU golfer in six events, Taylor totaled a team-high eight top-25 finishes. He was the runner-up at the Northern Intercollegiate with a 2-under 214 and tied for third in back-to-back events at the Furman Intercollegiate and John Hayt Collegiate Invitational.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native led the Chants to the team title at Furman with a 54-hole 5-under 208, which is tied for the eighth-lowest 54-hole score in CCU history. Last week, Taylor tied for third with a 10-under 203 at the 2019 Sun Belt Championship, which is tied for the program’s third-lowest 54-hole score.

Taylor is the first Chant to compete in a regional since both Ben Wheeler and Andrew Dorn played as individuals at the 2015 Chapel Hill Regional.

TPC Myrtle Beach is the first course in South Carolina to host a regional in more than 30 years, according to CCU’s sports information department.

Two Chants advance

Prior to learning they would not be competing in an NCAA Regional, CCU golfers Morgan Deneen and Wes Artac finished in the top four of a U.S. Open Local Qualifier on Wednesday at River Landing Country Club in Wallace, N.C., to advance to sectional qualifying.

Deneen tied for second with a 3-under 69, which was eight shots shy of the course-record 61 shot by medalist Patrick Cover of Cornelius, N.C., and Artac finished fourth with a 70 to claim the final qualifying spot.

All local qualifiers will play in one of 12 sectional qualifiers on June 3 to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open from June 13-16 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. Deneen and Artac will learn their sectional sites after local qualifying concludes on May 13.

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Alan Blondin covers golf, Coastal Carolina athletics and numerous other sports-related topics that warrant coverage. Well-versed in all things Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the Grand Strand, the Northeastern University journalism school valedictorian has been a sports reporter at The Sun News since 1993, earning eight top-10 Associated Press Sports Editors national writing awards and 18 top-three S.C. Press Association writing awards since 2007.


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