NORMAN, Okla. (seminoles.com) – The Florida State men’s golf team finished in a tie for third place in the NCAA Southwest Regional Championships and advanced to the NCAA Championships May 29-June 3 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. It marks the second time in the last three seasons the Seminoles have advanced to the championship round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship. Florida State finished in third place in the final standings of the National Championships in 2009.
The Seminoles finished in a tie for third place in the final standings of the 2012 Southwest Regional Championships and advanced along with first placed Washington, second placed Texas, Illinois (tied for third) and fifth placed Oklahoma. Those five schools will be joined by the top five teams from the five other regional championships as the 30 teams who will compete for the coveted title of national champion during the final week of the collegiate golf season.
“To say I am proud of this team is an understatement,” said head coach Trey Jones. “In our last five rounds we have had five different guys step up and have the team’s low round. This week Brooks (Koepka) got us off to a good start. Daniel (Berger) played a great round yesterday and Wesley (Graham) came through in a big way today. This is a no excuses teams and while they struggled with the course and the conditions, it never got the best of them.”
The Seminoles finished comfortably inside of the cut to advance as one of the top five teams as they finished three strokes ahead of fifth placed Oklahoma and 13 strokes ahead of sixth placed Georgia Tech (the 2012 ACC Champion). Florida State’s tied for third place finish in this regional championship is the second best in school history behind only the Seminoles’ second place finish at the NCAA Central Regional Championship at Notre Dame in 2010. The tied for third place finish is the second highest regional finish under Jones.
Berger (Jupiter, Fla.) finished in third place in the individual standings – just four strokes off the pace set by individual medalist Chris Williams of Washington. Washington carded a 4 under par 68 in the final round to move into first place and win the individual competition. Berger, who was playing in his first career regional championship, was in a tie for fifth place after the first round and in second place after the second round. He finished with a 3 under par tournament score of 213 as he carded a 3 over par score of 75 in the third and final round.
Berger carded his first eagle of the tournament – a three on the par 5 hole No. 8 – to go along with two birdies and nine holes scored at par. He was 1 under par over the course of his final 11 holes of the championship.
“Today was a great day for our team,” said Berger. “The weather conditions were probably the worst we have faced all year in the most important tournament of the year. I hit some good shots and I hit some poor shots. Playing in this event was a great experience and got us one step closer to our goal of winning a national championship that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. Playing well here gives me and my teammates a lot of confidence knowing that we can go head to head with the best teams in the country and knowing that we have a chance at winning.”
The Seminoles advanced on the strength of its third leading golfer during the three rounds of the tournament – seniorWesley Graham. Graham carded his second sub-par round of the tournament and finished in sixth place in the individual standings with a 54 hole total of 216. He carded a 70 in the first round and did not card a score above 75 in the regional championship.
Graham played his second best round of the tournament and was under par for all but one hole after carding birdie on his first hole of the day. He birdied two of his first four holes of the round and added one birdie on his back nine. Graham was 1 stroke under par over the course of his final 15 holes of the round.
“It was a grind the whole day,” said Graham. We came out (of this region) because of the overall toughness of every guy on our team and our never quit attitude throughout the entire tournament.”
Koepka (Wellington, Fla.) finished in 17th place in the individual standings with a 4 over par total of 220. He carded a five under par score of 67 in the first round and will now play in his second career NCAA Championship finals event.
“Playing in the national championship round is a nice way to go out,” said Koepka. “But we’re obviously not going there to play — we are looking to win. It will be fun to go out there and improve in what we did two years ago.”
Junior Doug Letson (Tampa, Fla.) finished in a tie for 31st place and Chase Seiffert (Panama City, Fla.) finished in a tie for 52nd place in the individual standings. Letson carded back to back scores of 73 in the first and second round and Seiffert carded his best score of the tournament – a 76 – in the third round.
“We are in desperate need of some rest and we will begin preparing for Rivera Country Club on Monday,” said Jones.
2012 NCAA Southwest Regional Championship/May 17-19, 2012/Final Florida State Results Jimmie Austin Golf Course at the University of Oklahoma/Norman, Okla./Par 72 T3/14. Florida State 279 292 300 871 3. Daniel Berger 69 69 75 213 6. Wesley Graham 70 75 71 216 17. Brooks Koepka 67 75 78 220 T31. Doug Letson 73 73 78 224 T52. Chase Seiffert 75 79 76 230
2012 NCAA Southwest Regional Championship/May 17-19, 2012/Final Team Results Jimmie Austin Golf Course at the University of Oklahoma/Norman, Okla./Par 72 1. Washington 860 8. South Carolina 895 2. Texas 864 T9. Arizona 902 T3. Florida State 871 T9. San Diego 902 T3. Illinois 871 11. Sacramento State 903 5. Oklahoma 874 12. IUPUI 915 6. Georgia Tech 883 13. Middle Tennessee State 922 7. St. Mary's (Calif.) 892 14. Loyola (Chicago) 944