May 9, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) - The Florida State University men's golf team, which has earned six top five team finishes this year, has been selected to play in its school record sixth consecutive NCAA Championship tournament and will play in the NCAA Central Regional at the Wolf Run Golf Club in Zionsville, Ind., May 19-21. It marks the sixth consecutive season and sixth time during the eight season tenure of Head Coach Trey Jones that the Seminoles will play in the NCAA Championship.
The Seminoles are seeded eighth in the Central Region - one of six regions in the 2011 NCAA Division I Championship Tournament. The top five finishing teams in each region will advance to the NCAA Division Championship finals at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., hosted by Oklahoma State University.
The Seminoles finished in second place in the 2010 NCAA Central Regional championship and in a school best third place in the 2010 NCAA Championship finals as the Seminoles enjoyed one of the best seasons by a golf team in school history under Jones last year.
"We really had to work hard to get ourselves into the field this season," said Jones. "Our players are peaking at the right time of the season and we are really looking forward to playing at Wolf Run - it's a great course and our guys are going to enjoy playing it. It should be a great weekend for our team and we look forward to playing well and advancing to nationals again."
Florida State finished in fifth place in the ACC Championship with All-ACC candidates Drew Kittleson and Brooks Koepka finishing in the top 10 of the individual standings. The ACC is generally considered to be among the top golf conferences in the nation meaning the tough competition the Seminoles will see will be many of the teams they have competed against throughout the season.
"Our schedule was designed to prepare us for the post season," said Jones. "We have to play very well as a collective group - from one to five - to advance. All of our guys have to have it together in every round from here on in for us to be successful and to get to where we want to be. We have the ability and the confidence we just have to perform on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's that simple for our players and for us as coaches."
Florida State is led by Kittleson and Koepka who have combined for two wins and three top five finishes this year. Kittleson earned individual medalist honors a the Gator Invitational and the Seminole Intercollegiate and the Koepka finished in second place at the Gary Koch Invitational and in a tie for third at the Brickyard Intercollegiate. Kittleson and Koepka began the postseason by finishing in a tie for sixth and a tie for 10th respectively at the ACC Championships in April.
"This is a great time of the year and we are happy to still be playing as a team," said Kittleson. "We are very excited to be going to Wolf Run which is a great course. Each of us has to play well each day for us to advance because there are a bunch of really good teams in the regional."
With two weeks between the ACC Championships and the NCAA regional championships, Jones knows he has to manage the Seminoles' practice time well.
"This is an important two weeks for our players," said Jones. "Our finals exams are finished and we have to get our players to address their individual needs this week. We have to work together and the players have to hone their games to be exactly where they want to be entering the NCAA's."
Among the activities Jones needs to manage are the graduation of two of his players - Kittleson and senior Kyle Cobb who both earned their bachelor's degrees on April 30. Kittleson earned his degree in social science while Cobb earned his in political science.
"We are very happy for both Drew and Kyle who earned their degrees and will both continued their playing careers," said Jones. "Drew will become a successful professional while Kyle will continue on as a member of our team. He has one year of eligibility remaining and will be one of the leaders of our team next year."
NCAA CENTRAL REGIONAL TEAMS: Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Stanford, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Indiana, Florida State, Michigan, Charlotte, Memphis, Wichita State, Missouri Kansas City, Sacred Heart.