Preview: Men’s Golf National Championships
May 21, 2012
Article largely contributed to by Jake Knabel, NAIA Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Live Scoring) The 2012 NAIA Men's Golf National Championships are scheduled to get underway Tuesday from Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore., at 7 a.m. PDT. The 61st annual event is a 72-hole stroke play tournament that will be played over the course of four days, concluding with the final round on Friday.
Creekside Golf Club will host a total of 159 golfers at this year’s event. The field is made up of 20 automatic qualifying schools who won their conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournaments, eight team at-large selections based on the final NAIA Men's Golf Coaches' Top 25 Poll, Corban (Ore.) (host berth) and 14 individual qualifiers.
Nine teams that placed in the top 10 at last year’s National Championships return to the field, including defending national titlist and second-ranked Oklahoma Christian. The Eagles lost 2011 National Championships individual medalist Oscar Stark to graduation, but return three golfers who participated in last year’s event. 2011 runner-up British Columbia is back after receiving an at-large bid, while No. 1-ranked Oklahoma City is poised to improve upon last year’s 10th-place finish. The Stars ride into Salem after besting Oklahoma Christian in the Sooner Athletic Conference Championships.
The 14 individual qualifiers includes nine automatic selections and five at-large choices. Each of the automatic selections garnered a spot in the National Championships by winning either his respective conference tournament or regular-season individual title. Of the 14, Thane Ringler of The Master’s (Calif.) and Omar Tejeira of St. Thomas (Fla.) are the only returnees from 2011. The five at-large participants were chosen by the tournament committee.