No. 3 Pacers golf opens NCAA Regional Monday

By: Staff Reporter
By: Staff Reporter

Saturday, May 4, 2013

HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – The nationally third-ranked and Peach Belt Conference champion University of South Carolina Aiken men’s golf team will open play in the 2013 NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional at the par-72, 6,928-yard El Campeon golf course at the Mission Inn Resort & Club on Monday, May 6.

USC Aiken is making its 21st appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament in the last 22 years in the regional. The 2013 NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional is being co-hosted by the Sunshine State Conference and the Central Florida Sports Commission.

The 2013 NCAA Division II field features 80 teams and 32 individual student-athletes overall.

USC Aiken will be vying to make its 17th appearance in the NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship in the South/Southeast regional.

The top seven teams and top two student-athletes not with a team after stroke play in the 2013 NCAA South/Southeast Regional will advance to the finals May 20-24 at the par-71, 7,061-yard East Course at the Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa.

The South/Southeast Regional consists of 10 teams each from both the South and Southeast regions of NCAA Division II. The top four individuals from each region not with a team were also selected.

The three-day, 54-hole regional will feature one round each day. Action will get underway at 7:30 a.m. each day. Admission is free each day.

All of the action in the 2013 NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional will be able to be followed live on USC Aiken’s official athletic website at www.PacerSports.com.

Last year, the then 13th-ranked Pacers finished fifth at the at the NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional at the par-72, 7,064-yard Jones Course at the Rock Barn Golf and Spa in Conover, N.C. The fifth-place finish allowed the Pacers to advance to their 16th appearance in the NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship.

A First-Team All-American in 2012, USC Aiken's Matt Atkins (Owensboro, Ky./Henderson State) concluded the three rounds of the 2012 NCAA South/Southeast Regional with a 6-under score of 210. Atkins carded a 70 in all three rounds en route to his first career victory.

USC Aiken and Atkins would go on to get through the stroke play portion of the NCAA Division II National Championship by finishing seventh, which paired them against eventual National Champion Nova Southeastern in the quarterfinals of the match play portion of the national championship. The Pacers fell 4-1.

The 2013 Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year, Atkins commences the 2013 NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional coming off individual medalist honors at the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Championship at the par-72, 7,057-yard Mountain View Course at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. Atkins finished his three rounds with a 4-under score of 212 (78-65-69). He now has three individual wins in his Pacer career.

The Pacers obtained top team honors at the league championship by concluding the three rounds of the Peach Belt Conference Men's Golf Championship with a team score of 873 (300-282-291).

The total of 873 allowed the Pacers to finish two strokes better than second-place finisher and current national No. 9 Columbus State (298-291-286=875).

USC Aiken now has nine Peach Belt Conference team championships (1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2013).

The team title was the second of the 2012-13 season for the Pacers. USC Aiken also claimed the team title at the Ninth Annual Kiawah Island Invitational at the 6,875-yard, par-72 Cougar Point Golf Course.

The Pacers finished the Ninth Annual Kiawah Island Invitational with a two-round team score of even-par 576 (281-295). The team score allowed them to best second-place North Alabama (280-297=577) by one stroke. Coker finished third at 587 (287-300=587).

The Pacers after the league championship have now acquired 76 tournament wins in program history.

In addition to the two team victories, USC Aiken has also obtained six top-5 team finishes in its 11 events in the 2012-13 season entering the regional. The Pacers have finished second or better as a team five times in the current year.

USC Aiken has had three players earn accolades this season. Atkins, a senior, was chosen to the Peach Belt Conference All-Conference First-Team and All-Tournament Team in addition to winning league Player of the Year plaudits, while senior JP Solis was chosen to the Peach Belt Conference All-Conference Team. Both Atkins and Solis (Morelia, Mexico/Lico Morelia) have collected league Player of the Week honors over the course of the 2012-13 season.

USC Aiken senior Mark Dickson (Edinburgh, Scotland/Firrhill) was tabbed to the Peach Belt Conference All-Tournament Team.

USC Aiken under Hall of Fame head coach and 2013 Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year Michael Carlisle in the NCAA Division II Tournament has three NCAA Division II National Championships (2004, 2005, 2006) and three NCAA Division II runner-up finishes (1995, 1996 and 1999).

Since the first National Championship in 2004, USC Aiken has claimed five NCAA National Championships, which includes three team titles and two individual crowns (Jeff Goff, 2008; Dane Burkhart, 2005).

South Region (Automatic Qualifiers):
1. Nova Southeastern
2. Barry (Sunshine State Conference)
3. Lynn
4. Florida Southern
5. North Alabama
6. Rollins
7. West Florida (Gulf South Conference)
8. Valdosta State
9. Florida Tech
10. Eckerd

Individuals:

1. Reed Lindsey, Delta State
2. Nick Brothers, Saint Leo
3. Corey Evans, West Georgia
4. Taylor Noel, Tampa

Southeast Region (Automatic Qualifiers):
1. USC Aiken (Peach Belt Conference)
2. Belmont Abbey (Conference Carolinas)
3. Columbus State
4. Georgia College
5. Armstrong
6. Georgia Southwestern
7. Barton
8. Mount Olive
9. Erskine
10. Lincoln Memorial (South Atlantic Conference)

Individuals:

1. Conner Godsey, Montevallo
2. Chandler Gruenmeier, Newberry
3. Richard Powell, King College
4. Brian Denton, Wingate


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