The Cal State San Bernardino men’s golf team, ranked No. 2 in the West Region and No. 8 in the nation, will make its 13th appearance in the NCAA tournament when play begins Monday in the 2009 West/Northwest Super Regional outside Lincoln, Neb.
The Coyotes, winners of four 54-hole tournaments in 2008-09 and coming off a disappointing fourth place finish at the California Collegiate Athletic Association conference championship, are hoping the return of their No. 2 player will give the five-member team a big lift.
Ten West Region teams and 10 Northwest Region teams along with four individuals from non-qualifying teams in each region will tee it up for three 18-hole rounds over three days at the Wilderness Ridge Golf Club. University of Nebraska-Kearney is hosting the NCAA Division II event.
Back in the fold for CSUSB is sophomore Kenny Pigman, who was the medalist at the Grand Canyon University-Thunderbird Invitational in March with a 54-hole total of 205, 11 under par. Pigman missed the final two tournaments of the regular season due to an academic issue that has now been resolved in his favor.
The lanky Norco resident ranks No. 5 in the West Region in stroke average at 73.04, just behind teammate Gene Webster Jr., of San Bernardino, fourth at 72.38. CSUSB senior Micah Burke of Los Angeles ranks No. 7 at 73.24 and junior Joe Alldis of Riverside is 10th at 74.21.
Sonoma State, the back-to-back CCAA champion and ranked No. 1 in the West Region, is the team to beat in the West Regional. The winners of each regional plus the next four lowest scoring teams from either regional will advance to the national championship tournament in Blaine, Wash., on May 19-22 at Loomis Trail Golf Club.
The Coyotes have competed in 12 NCAA national championship tournaments, seven in Division II and five in Division III (1987-91) and have finished third three times (1997, 1998, 1988) and fourth twice (1987, 1990). This regional marks the fourth straight NCAA appearance by the Coyotes since Tom Mainez Jr. took over as head coach in early 2006.
The Coyotes won the West Regional in 2007 with a 54-hole score of 841 as then-freshman Webster took medalist honors with a score of 202 on rounds of 69, 66 and 67.
CSUSB has enjoyed its most successful regular season in the history of the program with four wins in 54-hole tournaments. The team finished in the top five in nine of its 10 tournaments in 2008-09.
Wilderness Ridge favors the long hitters, measuring 7,016 yards from the black tees and playing to a par-71. The longest par-5 is 576 yards. The shortest par-3 is 164 yards. Only three of the par-4s measure less than 400 yards.
Joining CSUSB and Sonoma State in the West Regional battle will be fellow CCAA members Chico State, Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State Stanislaus along with Western Washington, Grand Canyon, Hawaii-Hilo, Dixie State and Saint Martin‘s University.
UC San Diego, a non-qualifier in the team event, placed three individuals into the tournament based on stroke average and strength of schedule.
CSUSB golfers at a glance:
Gene Webster Jr., junior, San Bernardino – Webster has been a key player for the Coyotes for three seasons. He leads the team in stroke average (72.3) with five top-five finishes in tournaments this year. He twice shot 207 for 54-holes, nine-under-par and both times finished second. He was the 2007 NCAA West Regional medalist and a third-team all-American as a freshman and was CSUSB’s co-Male Athlete of the Year that year. He was selected to the all-CCAA first team.
Micah Burke, senior, Los Angeles – Burke is finishing his four-year CSUSB career on a high note. He has a stroke average of 73.2 with five top10 finishes this season, including a second place finish at the CCAA conference championship with a 54-hole total of 209 on rounds of 71-70-68. He was the medalist at the 2008 Southern California Intercollegiate tournament. He was selected to the all-CCAA first team.
Kenny Pigman, sophomore, Norco - Pigman has been an impact player for the Coyotes in his first season at CSUSB. He is averaging 73 shots per round with five top-10 finishes including a tournament victory at the Grand Canyon Thunderbird where he shot 205 – 65, 70, 70. He transferred in from Riverside Community College.
Joe Alldis, junior, Riverside – Alldis has improved his stroke average to 74.2 this season with two top-five finishes. His best effort was a 208 at the Grand Canyon Invitational last fall on rounds of 68, 69, 71 to finish third and help the Coyotes win the team title.
Thomas Chu, junior, San Diego – Like Pigman, he is in his first year of play with CSUSB and is averaging 76.7 strokes a round. He has three top-20 finishes with a 12th place at the InterWest Classic in Chico his best effort. He has shot 223 for 54 holes twice this season. He is a transfer from Palomar College.
NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES: The Coyotes golf team of 1991 played in the NCAA Div. III national championship at a different course in Lincoln, Neb., finishing in fifth place. The keynote speaker at the pre-tournament banquet was none other than Dave Stockton of Redlands, the captain of the 1991 Ryder Cup team. Charles DeLorey finished seventh among individuals and earned all-America honors……CSUSB has competed in six NCAA Division II regionals as a team and finished in the top five all six times….Scott Householder of CSUSB won medalist honors at the 1997 NCAA Div. II national championship in Scottsdale, Ariz., shooting a 72-hole total of 273, 15-under-par, a record that still stands today……Lee Kinney of CSUSB was the runnerup at the 1998 NCAA Div. II tournament……The Coyotes have seven top-10 finishes in the NCAA championship tournament in their 12 appearances…..CSUSB’s Eric Lippert was the D-2 West Region medalist in 1998 with a 209 for 54 holes on rounds of 73-70-66….when Gene Webster won medalist honors at the 2007 West Regional, he fired rounds of 69-66-67 for 202…..even when their team didn’t qualify, five former CSUSB players earned individual berths in the NCAA regionals in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 – J.R. Reyes (twice), David Backus, Ryan Plummer, Robert Mink and Bryan Newman. Mink had the highest finish of any – 16th in 2005.