MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - For the sixth time in the last seven years, Middle Tennessee's men's golf program is headed to the postseason. The Blue Raiders earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regionals as announced on The Golf Channel Monday morning.
Middle Tennessee will be one of 14 teams participating in the regional at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Mo., hosted by the University of Missouri May 15-17. The low five teams from six regionals will advance to the NCAA National Championships at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., May 23 - 28. Wichita State will serve as host. Each regional will be a 54-hole event.
Middle Tennessee's spot among the nation's top 81 teams came during the last announced regional by the Men's Golf Selection Committee's selection show on the Golf Channel's Morning Drive Show. The Blue Raiders will be the No. 10 seed in a field that includes No. 2 ranked Oklahoma State, No. 11 ranked Virginia, No. 14 ranked LSU, No. 24 ranked Arkansas, and 26th ranked Arizona State. MT was and eight seed in 2011 and 2012.
It is the seventh NCAA berth in program history and the fifth as an at-large. The Blue Raiders also made NCAA Regional appearances in 2000, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. In 2008, Middle Tennessee advanced all the way to the NCAA Championships where it finished 15th nationally.
Head Coach Whit Turnbow believed Middle Tennessee's body of work was easily strong enough to gain an at-large berth after the team finished fifth in Conference USA. Middle Tennessee is ranked No. 59 nationally and enjoyed a very strong spring season.
"This is a testament to the hard work the players have put in all season and a sign our program continues to move in the right direction," said Head Coach Whit Turnbow. "They were all very excited to see Middle Tennessee's name on the screen this morning.
"We have some very talented and tradition rich programs in our region so we have to be ready. We still have a little more than a week to prepare but we look forward to the opportunity to compete against the best."
The Blue Raiders' lineup will be led by juniors Brett Patterson and Payne Denman. Patterson, who leads the team with a 73.0 stroke average, will be playing in his third NCAA Tournament while Denman is appearing for the first time as a Blue Raider. Jordan Jennings and Andrew Cho both played in the 2012 NCAA Regionals and will be making their second trip.
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1. Oklahoma State
5. Arizona State
7. San Diego State
9. Iowa State
10. Middle Tennessee
11. Ohio State
13. Loyola, MD