The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men's golf team will play in the NCAA Division III National Championships for the third time in the last four years and for the fifth time overall when the Cru opens play in the 2017 Championship next Tuesday (May 16th). The field for the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Golf National Championship was announced on Monday and includes 42 teams and five individuals.
UMHB clinched its berth back on April 19th, when the Cru posted a 20-stroke victory in the American Southwest Conference Championship Tournament. UMHB claimed its seventh ASC title by winning that tournament. The Cru will be joined by a pair of familiar faces in the national tournament with ASC rivals Concordia Texas and U.T. Tyler also earning at-large bids into this year's field. This year's field is comprised of 33 automatic qualifiers, nine at-large teams and five individuals not on a selected team for a total of 215 players.
"Everyone involved with our program is excited about the opportunity to play for a national championship," Cru Head Coach Jordan Cox said. "The football team's victory in the national title game was very motivational for our team, too. Every single player on our roster worked extremely hard this year to help us reach team goals that were set before we played out first event. We have had a record setting year and hope to make some more very special memories by the time next week has concluded."
UMHB will ride a hot streak and the play of five veteran players into this year's tournament. The Cru is averaging 291.78 strokes per round as a team and has won four straight tournaments and losing a scorecard playoff for the title in a fifth tournament going into the championship. Senior Mats Heien won individual medalist honors at the ASC Tournament and has four individual titles this season. He also leads UMHB with a 72.00 stroke average. Senior Jarrod Brown is right behind Heien with a 72.74 stroke average and he has posted nine top ten finishes in ten events on the year. Senior Alden Fortner has a 73.79 stroke average and an individual title on the year and is coming off a third place finish in the ASC Tournament. Senior Mason Wyatt and junior Kyle Revis round out the top five for UMHB and that duo has combined for six top ten finishes on the season. Brown and Heien will be playing in the National Championship for the third time and this will be Fortner's second appearance. Wyatt and Revis will be playing in the national tournament for the first time. Jordan Cox won ASC Coach of the Year honors following the conference tournament and will be taking his team to the National Tournament for the first time after coaching Heien to an individual berth in last year's event.
"It is an honor for me to coach young men who are so dedicated to achieving the goals they set," Cox said. "They have grown in so many ways over the last year or so and I believe are poised to have an extremely successful week at nationals. With four seniors and one junior representing us this week, they all realize the opportunity they have had presented to them. I believe they will trust their preparation and training for each thing in front of them and allow the results or outcomes to take care of themselves. It has been a formula that has served them and our program very well this year."
The 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Golf National Championships will be played May 16-19 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida. The 72-hole event will be played on two courses and the 42-team field will be cut to the low 18 teams and six individuals not on an advancing team after completion of the second round.