Golf Regional Preview: Wildcats Enter as Top East Team, Look for National Tournament Bid
Sunday, May 6, 2012 - New Castle, DE
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Junior PJ Tighe
Senior Dan Ott
Junior John Perrine
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After winning the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament for the second year in a row, the Wilmington University golf team looks to improve upon its best ever third place showing at the upcoming NCAA Division II East/Atlantic Region Tournament hosted by Millersville at the Hershey Country Club East Course starting on Monday.
The Wildcats have been off since April 11, but come to the regional as the top seeded team in the East Region after claiming its second straight CACC Tournament in Lafayette Hill, Pa. earlier this month. Wilmington won the conference going away, defeating second play Post University by 12 strokes at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club.
Individually, junior PJ Tighe brought home the top tournament honors by beating the field by two strokes to earn his first CACC Tournament Championship. It is the second straight year the Wildcats took the top honor after then rookie Andrew Baldo won the 2011 individual championship in leading Wilmington to its first team title. Tighe took this year’s tournament with a 76-71 two round score for a 147, three-over par.
Senior Dan Ott, leading after the first round, shot a 79 to finish in a tie for fifth, seven shots off Tighe and the lead. Baldo finished 10th overall, shooting another 79 in round two for a fourteen-over 158. Jerry Temple rounded out the top-four scorers for Wilmington, shooting a 79-80 over the two-days for a fifteen-over 159.
Ott repeated as the CACC Golfer of the Year for 2012 while head coach Harry Jennings earned his first CACC Coach of the Year award after eight seasons at the helm of the Wildcats.
In order to compete in the NCAA East/Atlantic Regional Championship, teams must finish the regular season ranked as one of the 10 best teams in its region. The East Region is comprised of teams from the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, Northeast-10 and East Coast Conference. The Atlantic Region includes teams from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Each league champion receives an automatic berth. Also included in the field are the top four individuals whose team did not qualify. The top five teams and the top two student-athletes not with a team from each regional (regardless of region) will advance to the finals May 15-19, at the Cardinal Club Country Club in Louisville, Ky., which is part of the Division II Spring Championships Festival.
Wilmington comes in as the top seed in the East Region, followed by St. Thomas Aquinas, Post, Dowling, and Bentley (NE-10 Champion) as the top five seeds. UMass-Lowell, American International, Goldey-Beacom, Franklin Pierce and Adelphi round out the ten teams representing the East Region. Saint Rose’s Matt Horton, Pace’s Brian Allmendinger and Concorida’s Jeff Schaller and Sam Deitte will be competing individually for the Regional Championship.
Indiana, Pa. (PSAC Champion) is the top seed in the Atlantic Region followed by Concord, California, Pa., Charleston, and Clarion in the top five. Bluefield State (WVIAC Champion), West Chester, Davis & Elkins, Fayetteville State (CIAA Champion), and Mercyhurst round out the Atlantic Region. West Liberty’s Joey Seabright and Ryan Thompson, Virginia State’s Stephen Genchi, Chowan’s Cliff Forbes will battle as individuals in the Atlantic to reach the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
The East Course opened in 1969, the par-71 East Course at Hershey Country Club is a golf enthusiast's dream, featuring elevated greens, three sparkling lakes, and more than 100 bunkers. Designer George Fazio captured the natural beauty of central Pennsylvania’s countryside with views that golfers can appreciate on every hole. The course boasts numerous natural hazards, rolling fairways, and daunting greens, stretching 7,061 yards with a rating of 74.5 and a slope of 136. The East Course has hosted several PGA tournaments, most recently the Nationwide Tour’s Reese's Cup Classic, an event on professional golf's development tour.