WWU Learns Opening Round Partners for NAIA National Tournament
KANSAS CITY -- The William Woods University men's golf team returns to the NAIA National Tournament for the third time in the past four years after winning the Unaffiliated Grouping I Qualifier last week.
On Friday the Owls learned whom they will be playing with on the first two days of the tournament, as the opening round pairings for the 61st Annual NAIA Men's Golf National Championships hosted by Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Oregon. WWU will tee off from the first hole at 9:50 a.m. CT on Tuesday, May 22, alongside teams from Oklahoma Christian University and Holy Cross College.
Starting from the front nine in the morning grouping, the Owls are in the second flight of their nine-team pod, following the teams from Oklahoma City University, Johnson & Wales University and Marian College. The fifth golfer from each team will tee off first, with succeding threesomes getting underway in 10-minute intervals, with WWU's number one golfer set for a 8:30 a.m. start. The Owls' final threesome will be followed by teams from Texas Wesleyan, Wayland Baptist and Northwestern.
Rounding out the morning grouping will be six individual qualifiers along with six teams in the 159-player field, starting from the 10th tee at 7:30 a.m. with the no. 5 golfers from Grand View (Iowa), Southern Nazarene (Okla.) and Madonna (Mich.). The remaining 14 teams and eight individual qualifiers are scheduled to tee off at noon to conclude the opening day's play.
The groupings will then alternate on Wednesday for the second round, with the teams flipping start times as well. William Woods will still tee off second in its nine-team pod, partnering with Oklahoma Christian and Holy Cross for a 12:50 p.m. start time on the 10th tee. The Owls follow Texas Wesleyan, Wayland Baptist and Northwestern, who will get the second round underway at noon.
J.D. Nash closes out his career as a four-time qualifier, leading the Owls to a team qualification after advancing to the 2011 tournament as an individual. The Owls have been ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll throughout the 2012 season, climbing to 12th in the most recent balloting. The Owls have posted the 13th-best stroke average among NAIA teams on the season, compiling a 151-13 overall head-to-head record. Nash is joined by fellow seniors Morgan Hough and Bobby Mayer, junior Chris Reinert, sophomore Andrew Davis and freshman Julian Taylor in the Owls travel party. Hough, Nash and Taylor swept the top three spots at the Unaffiliated Grouping I Qualifier.
The pairings will be shuffled following the second round. The 159-player field is comprised of 20 automatic qualifier teams from conferences/independents/unaffiliated group tournaments, a hosting berth granted to Corban College and eight at-large selections, which were determined using the final NAIA Men's Golf Coaches' Top 25 Poll released on Thursday. Additionally, 14 individuals earned a spot in the event as either a medalist at their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournaments (nine) or as an individual at-large (five) selection.