PISCATAWAY, NJ – Enjoying one of its most successful seasons in the history of the program, the Rutgers men’s golf team embarks on its first NCAA Championship Regionals in 21 years this weekend. The Scarlet Knights will travel to Nashville, TN, to compete Thursday through Saturday at the Golf Club of Tennessee, hosted by the Southeastern Conference.
Rutgers is the 24th seed in the East Regional where it will compete against Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Duke, Tennessee, Georgia Southern, Wake Forest, Alabama, Georgia State, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Louisville, North Carolina, East Tennessee State, Central Florida, Virginia, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Charlotte, Penn State, North Carolina-Wilmington, Towson, Rhode Island, Maryland, Army and Boston College in the 27-school regional tournament.
RU, which finished third at the BIG EAST Championships earlier this spring, was one of 52 teams to earn an at-large berth in the 81-school field. The NCAA Championships field was divided into three regional tournaments, the East, Central and West, encompassing the current nine regions of the country. A total of 27 teams and six individuals not on selected teams were assigned to each regional site, where the top 10 teams and two individuals not on advancing teams will move on from each regional to the championship finals.
Should Rutgers advance, they will move on to the NCAA Championships Finals, held June 1-4 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, MD. Loyola College serves as host for this year’s championships.
RU has finished sixth or better in all 10 tournaments during the fall and spring seasons, including four tournament titles in the fall.
Rutgers highlighted its spring season with a third-place finish in the weather-shortened BIG EAST Championships in April where head coach Maura Waters was recognized as the 2005 BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
The Scarlet Knights are led by senior Brent Pittman (Montvale, NJ). After winning a pair of individual tournament titles in the 2003 fall season, he had top-5 finishes in three tournaments, finishing 10th or better in seven out of the 10 invitationals during the year. He is the top golfer in the BIG EAST and among the top in individuals in the Mid-Atlantic region with a 72.8 strokes-per-round average this season. Pittman tied for third at the BIG EAST Championship in late April.
Junior Jason Bataille (South Plainfield, NJ) is second on the Rutgers roster with a 74.36 scoring average this season. He owns a pair of top-5 finishes, winning the Rutgers Invitational in the fall with a six-under-par 136 (68-68). He led Rutgers to the team championship in the event, beginning a string of three-consecutive titles for the Scarlet Knights.
Junior Mike Kosup (Flemington, NJ) has emerged as a threat to win tournaments each time he steps on the course. He won the Elon Sea Trail Invitational, besting the 114-member field with a six-under-par 138 (69-69). Kosup’s second top-5 finish came at the BIG EAST Championships in April, when he tied for third in the event. Kosup and Pittman were both selected to the All-BIG EAST team following their performances in the BIG EAST Championship.
Fellow junior Erick Morales (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) and sophomores John Browndorf (Rumson, NJ) and Seth Hirschhorn (Willingboro, NJ) have each contributed to the team’s success this season. Browndorf leads the bunch with a 73.97 scoring average. His best finish was fifth at the Tillinghast, hosted by St. John’s in the fall.
Rutgers owns a 113-21 record in head-to-head competition this season – its best mark in recent memory. The Scarlet Knights own the best scoring average in the BIG EAST.
Live scoring will be available daily through www.golfstatlive.com.