MSU men set for NCAA golf regional

By: 
DANNY P. SMITH
Staff Writer

Postseason play is the goal of any college athletic team.

The Mississippi State men’s golf team has worked its way into that situation this season. This is the first time it has experienced an NCAA regional in four years.

The Bulldogs are in Bryan, Texas, for their first regional appearance since the 2013-14 season. They will approach the 10th tee Monday at 8:55 a.m. The stage is the par-72, 7,146-yard Traditions Club.

In his second year with the program, MSU men’s golf coach Dusty Smith has his squad in the NCAA championships. He doesn’t want the Bulldogs to take that opportunity for granted.

“This is the time of year we all look forward to,” Smith said in a school release. “Our guys have earned this opportunity, and I am excited to watch them compete this week. This week is going to be a great test for our team. It will take great toughness, great body language, great discipline, great focus and a great mindset in order for us to be the best version of us.”

Texas A&M hosts the 13-team regional that includes six Southeastern Conference schools. MSU joins Texas A&M, Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Georgia out of the SEC with Baylor, Clemson, UCLA, San Francisco, UNC-Wilmington, Northern Colorado and Bradley are also a part of the fun.

Five of those teams and the highest placing individual from a non-advancing team will advance to the 30-team national championships on May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

It will be a familiar starting lineup for the Bulldogs as Smith will send the same five players onto the course as he has for four consecutive tournaments.

“We have taken all the proper steps up to this point,” Smith said. “The greatest challenge for us will be to focus on what we can control and to not worry about anything else. We know what we are capable of when we have our minds where they need to be.

“Ultimately, it comes down to the teams that are unselfish, together and sold out to the process that are the most successful this time of the year."

Sophomore Peng Pichaikool, senior Taylor Grant and sophomore Garrett Johnson will fill the first three spots for MSU, while senior Taylor Bibbs and freshman Cameron Clarke will be the other competitors. The substitute is freshman Hunter Hammett.

To follow the progress of those Bulldogs during the 54-hole event the next three days, use Golfstat.

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