Mercer heads to Raleigh (again), Georgia College gets in

Macon TelegraphMay 5, 2014 

With classes over and an open schedule, Mercer men’s golfers were mostly gone when the NCAA announced the field for its Division I golf tournament Monday.

But head coach Steve Bradley wasn’t alone when he watched the show. Fittingly, Mercer men’s basketball head coach Bob Hoffman and assistants Spencer Wright and Jake Nelp were among the almost two dozen Mercer staff and officials who joined Bradley.

That was fitting, because Mercer is headed to Raleigh for NCAA tournament action, and Raleigh has been good to the Bears in 2014.

“I saw President (Bill) Underwood last week,” Bradley said. “He goes, ‘Raleigh would be nice. We’ve had some success there.’ Everyone’s kind of talking about that a little bit, and that would be neat.”

Indeed. The basketball team became darlings of the NCAA tournament by beating Duke in the round of 64, and now the golf team will try to put its own stamp on the city when it joins 12 other teams May 16.

A rematch with Duke won’t be on the agenda, as the Blue Devils didn’t make the NCAA golf tournament. But the Bears will get a chance to best some other top-notch ACC teams when the regional tees off.

Georgia Tech won the ACC and is the region’s top seed, two spots ahead of Florida State. Mercer is seeded fifth, three ahead of Wake Forest.

Five teams from Georgia and four from the A-Sun advanced. Mercer, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Georgia State were all conference champions.

The A-Sun is sending a record four teams to the tournament: Kennesaw State, East Tennessee State and North Florida join Mercer.

Kennesaw State is seeded seventh at Auburn, while North Florida ninth and East Tennessee State 10th at Oregon.

Georgia Tech is the top seed in Raleigh and Georgia first in San Antonio, with Georgia Southern (seventh) and Georgia State (eighth) also in San Antonio.

The Bears won the A-Sun tournament last month at The Legends course in Braselton at Chateau Elan.

It’s a pretty strong field in Raleigh, with four teams ranked in the Golf Coaches Association of America poll: No. 3 Georgia Tech, No. 11 Washington, No. 13 Texas A&M and No. 23 Florida State.

The Yellow Jackets are second in the Golfweek poll, with Washington ninth, Texas A&M 11th and Florida State 24th.

Mercer is 27th and 32nd in those two polls, bolstering the strength of the regional, as well.

The Bears were seeded about where Bradley expected.

“Six different sites around the country, we were ranked 29th,” the third-year head coach said. “That put us at a fifth seed (in) pretty much any of the regions.

“I think it’s a fairly good field. It’s consistent in that Texas Tech played pretty well at their conference (tournament, and) Wake’s pretty solid. Georgia Tech is clearly the favorite.”

Mercer has competed with Florida State three times this spring.

They were in the South Florida Invitational in early March, won by the Seminoles with the Bears tying for fourth.

And then the Bears won the Seminole Intercollegiate in Tallahassee, Fla., beating the Seminoles and South Florida by six strokes.

Mercer tied for third in the Mason Rudolph championship hosted by Vanderbilt, finishing 23 strokes better than eighth-place Florida State. Rice tied for 12th in that tournament.

South Alabama was seventh in the Linger Longer tournament co-hosted by Mercer, which tied for fifth. Memphis was seventh in the USF Invitational.

Mercer won the Brickyard Collegiate it hosted in the fall, nipping Georgia Tech by two strokes, South Florida by 23 and Florida State by 28.

The Bears reconvene Wednesday in Macon and resume practice Thursday.

“I don’t really worry about nerves,” Bradley said. “This is a pretty calm group of guys. I don’t think that they’re going to be overwhelmed by the moment. These guys know how to play golf.

Here's the full field, including individuals:

Auburn University Club – Auburn, Alabama
Hosted by Auburn

1. Alabama [Southeastern Conference]
2. Virginia Tech
3. Texas [Big 12 Conference]
4. Auburn
5. New Mexico [Mountain West Conference]
6. BYU [West Coast Conference]
7. Kennesaw State
8. Colorado
9. Louisville
10. UNC-Greensboro
11. UC Davis
12. Sam Houston State [Southland Conference]
13. St. John’s [Big East Conference]
14. Alabama State [Southwestern Athletic Conference]

1. Blake Morris, Ole Miss
2. JD Tomlinson, Florida
3. Jared Bettcher, Troy
4. Marco Iten, Austin Peay
5. Theodore Lederhausen, Harvard

The Club at Old Hawthorne – Columbia, Missouri
Hosted by Missouri

Teams (seeded in the following order):
1. Oklahoma State
2. Virginia
3. LSU
4. Arkansas
5. Arizona State
6. Iowa
7. San Diego State
8. Missouri
9. Iowa State
10. Middle Tennessee State
11. Ohio State
12. Denver [The Summit League]
13. Loyola-Maryland [Patriot League]
14. Bryant [Northeast Conference]

1. Pep Angles, Central Arkansas
2. Matt Mabrey, Tulsa
3. Logan McCracken, Tulsa
4. Daniel Wood, Kansas State
5. Alex Taylor, Fairfield

Lonnie Poole Golf Club – Raleigh, North Carolina
Hosted by NC State

Teams (seeded in the following order):
1. Georgia Tech [Atlantic Coast Conference]
2. Washington
3. Florida State
4. Texas A&M
5. Mercer  [Atlantic Sun Conference]
6. Kentucky
7. Texas Tech
8. Wake Forest
9. South Alabama
10. Memphis
11. Minnesota [Big Ten Conference]
12. Rice [Conference USA]
13. Bethune-Cookman [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference]

1. J.T. Poston, West Carolina
2. Evan Russell, Hartford
3. Franco Castro, UNC-Charlotte
4. Brandon Matthews, Temple
5. Richard Fountain, Davidson
6. Eric Brady, East Carolina
7. Andrew Dorn, Coastal Carolina
8. Ben Wheeler, Coastal Carolina
9. Sean Bosdosh, Maryland
10. Zach Seabolt, Winthrop

Rich Harvest Farms – Sugar Grove, Illinois
Hosted by the Northern Illinois

Teams (seeded in the following order):
1. Cal
2. Illinois
3. USC
4. Alabama-Birmingham
6. Clemson
7. Kent State [Mid-American Conference]
8. Purdue
9. Mississippi State
10. Cal State Fullerton [Big West Conference]
11. New Mexico State [Western Athletic Conference]
12. Jacksonville State [Ohio Valley Conference]
13. Cleveland State [Horizon League]
14. Saint Peter’s [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference]

1. Niall Platt, Notre Dame
2. Chris O’Neill, Michigan
3. Danny Pizetoski, Richmond
4. Juan Veloza, Towson
5. Rob van de Vin, IUPUI

Eugene Country Club – Eugene, Oregon
Hosted by Oregon

1. Stanford [Pac-12 Conference]
2. Houston
3. Oklahoma
4. South Carolina
5. Baylor
6. Liberty [Big South Conference]
7. Oregon
8. Tennessee
9. North Florida
10. East Tennessee State
11. Tennessee-Chattanooga
12. Wichita State [Missouri Valley Conference]
13. Northern Colorado [Big Sky Conference]

1. Cody Blick, San Jose State
2. Kyle Westmoreland, Air Force
3. David Fink, Oregon State
4. Owen Taylor, Sacramento State
5. Byron Meth, Pacific
6. Tyler Torano, Loyola Marymount
7. Cory McElyea, San Francisco
8. Pete Fernandez, California Irvine
9. Alex Franklin, Oregon State
10. Frederick Wedel, Pepperdine

Briggs Ranch Golf Club – San Antonio, Texas
Hosted by UTSA

Teams (seeded in the following order):
1. Georgia
2. Central Florida
4. Vanderbilt
5. South Florida
6. SMU [American Athletic Conference]
7. Georgia Southern [Southern Conference]
8. Georgia State [Sun Belt Conference]
9. TCU
10. Northwestern
11. College of Charleston [Colonial Conference]
12. VCU [Atlantic 10]
13. Columbia [Ivy Group]

1. Eric Oja, Arizona
2. Grant Forrest, San Diego
3. Grady Brame, Southeastern Louisiana
4. Victor Lange, Louisiana Tech
5. Alex McMahon, Arizona
6. Preston Stanley, Houston Baptist
7. Martin Simonsen, Texas-El Paso
8. Stuart Smallwood, Texas State
9. Peter Kim, Army
10. Peter Ballo, Sacred Heart


Good news for Bobcats

Georgia College's softball team got an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II tournament, and won't have to travel far.

The Bobcats are in the Southeast 2 Region, hosted by Anderson, S.C. Peach Belt teams Armstrong Atlantic State and USC Aiken are also in the regional.

Valdosta State is the second seed in the South 2 Regional at Tampa.



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