A top-five finish would be good enough for the Washington men’s golf team this week at the NCAA regional in Stockton, California, which begins Monday.
But the Huskies, seeded No. 2 in the regional, have their sights set on a victory. And why not? They have already won a program-record six tournaments this season and are coming off a win in the Pac-12 championships.
“We have a team good enough to win, so why wouldn’t we try to win?” said UW coach Alan Murray. “These guys have had a taste of it, and they enjoy winning, and that is kind of why you practice.”
The Huskies want to finish first, but the top five teams in the 14-team regional at the Reserve at Spanos Park will have reason to celebrate, with each advancing to the NCAA championships May 27 to June 1 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Washington will face several of the teams that it beat in the Pac-12 championships late last month at Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish.
Arizona State, which finished third at the Pac-12 championships, is the top seed in the regional. Stanford, which finished second, is the No. 3 seed this week.
Louisiana State is seeded No. 4, and Pac-12 foe Oregon is the No. 5 seed.
Murray said he does not mind facing Pac-12 rivals again.
“There are a lot of good teams (in the Stockton regional), but no matter where you got sent, you’ve just got to play well,” he said. “You can’t sneak your way into a national championship.”
The top four of five scores count each day in the three-round event. Washington’s lineup is senior RJ Manke, the Pac-12 player of the year, senior Noah Woolsey, who won the Pac-12 individual title, sophomore Teddy Lin, junior Petr Hruby and sophomore Taehoon Song.
UW won the Pac-12 title with Manke having an uncharacteristic off week.
“RJ is someone that you are not going to stress out a whole lot,” Murray said. “He is obviously a great kid, and he is a quality player. He’s a quality player because most of the time he plays really well. So no concerns with RJ.”
Seattle U’s Cogswell in regional
Seattle University senior Nathan Cogswell, coming off an individual title in the Western Athletic Conference championships, is playing as an individual in the Stockton regional.
Cogswell was one of five individuals who were selected to participate, and he will be trying to win the one spot into the NCAA championships that goes to the player who has the best score among those who are not part of the five advancing teams.