HERSHEY, Pa. – Currently ranked No. 1 in the country in the NCAA Division II, the Nova Southeastern University’s Men’s Golf team will look to repeat as National Champions during the 2013 DII Men’s Golf Championship in Hershey, Pa., May 20-24.
To earn the team’s second straight title, the Sharks will have to win on a course unfamiliar to them. Built in 1969, The Hershey Country Club East Course features elevated greens, sparkling lakes, and more than 100 bunkers. The 7,061-yard par-71 has a rating of 74.5 and slope of 136. The course was home to the Reese’s Cup Championship from 1977 to 2004.
20 teams and 108 participants will make up this year’s championship field, with a tournament-high seven teams coming from the South/Southeast Region. Nova Southeastern, fresh off the program’s first NCAA Super Regional Championship, will have the biggest target on their back, with teams such as No. 2 Barry, No. 5 South Carolina-Aiken and No. 7 Lynn all look for revenge.
The tournament will begin with team stroke play through the first three rounds from Monday to Wednesday. Unlike the women’s side, the individual NCAA National Champion will be crowned midway through the tournament. From there, the field will be cutoff and the top eight teams will be put into a three-round match play bracket. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be held on Thursday, with the championship round scheduled for Friday.
In order to win, the Sharks will need several solid, consistent individual performances. The team’s leader is former NCAA Player of the Year, Benjamin Taylor (Jr., Leatherhead, England). The field’s highest ranked player will look to be the NCAA National Champions’ top player for a second straight year. Taylor has had an incredible year, with four tournament wins dating back to the fall. Taylor has finished in the top-3 in seven out of 10 tournaments played and needs one more top-3 finish to surpass his mark from last season.
Ricardo Celia (Jr., Barranquilla, Columbia) is also one of the nation’s elite golfers and is arguably the Sharks’ rock of consistency. He is the only athlete on his team that has been in the top-20 in every tournament of the season. His biggest highlight of the year was earning the individual title at the Sunshine State Conference Championship, the toughest conference in DII men’s golf.
Mitch Farrer (Jr., West Sussex, England) brings the same level of experience to the table, as he also helped guide the Sharks to the title last season. The veteran is also peaking at the right time, with a season-best fourth-place finish at the super regional.
NSU will be bringing two golfers who have never experienced nationals in Ian Facey (So., Miami, Fla.) and Hunter O’Mahony (Fr., Tequesta, Fla.). Facey has been a breakout star for the Sharks this season, earning a tournament victory at NSU’s own Shark Invitational in the fall. Since then, Facey has moved his stroke average to 74.15, putting him on the same level as his teammates. O’Mahony has been a freshman sensation and only become stronger as the year has progressed. He is currently on a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes.
The Sharks are making their fourth appearance at the DII NCAA National Championship. If they earn the victory, they will become the eighth institution to win the tournament consecutively and the first repeat champion since 2006.
Fans can follow the tournament right here on NSUSharks.com for live scoring, photos and videos straight from the tournament.
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About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 300 beautiful acres in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic fully accredited research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at all levels. NSU is a not-for-profit independent institution with more than 28,000 students. NSU awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. NSU is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and it’s one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. www.nova.edu
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