May 17, 2003
AUBURN, Ala.--The Tennessee men's golf team qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1997 after finishing fourth at the East Regional. The 23rd-ranked Vols fired a 281-291-291--863 at the Auburn University Club (par 72, 7,207 yards) to give the program its highest finish in regional competition. The NCAA Championships will be held in Stillwater, Okla. from May 28-31 at Karsten Creek Golf Course.
Sophomore Ross McGowan led the Vols, tying for 16th. McGowan fired a 67-72-73--212 to give him his best three-round score of the season. His previous best was a 217 at the Southeastern Conference Championships.
Fellow sophomore David Skinns bounced back from a rough second round to record a 70 to go with a 70-75 for a total of 215, tying him for 25th. Skinns finished the day with four birdies to lead the team. John-Scott Rattan, also a sophomore, finished two strokes back of Skinns tied for 30th with a 70-73-74--217.
Seniors Andrew Pratt and Ian Parnaby rounded out the Vol scoring. Pratt fired a 74-74-74--222 to finish tied for 51st, while Parnaby finished tied for 83rd with a 77-72-78--227. Top-ranked Clemson won the tournament with a 285-277-277--839, 25-under par. Georgia Tech, ranked 15th, finished second with a 281-286-281--848, followed by No. 5 Florida (859), Tennessee (863) and Duke (866).
Troy Matteson of Georgia Tech, the defending NCAA individual champion, claimed top individual honors with a 68-67-66--201. William Ted Brown of Virginia Commonwealth and Gregg Jones of Clemson finished in a tie for second with a 208. Ryan Gildersleeve of South Alabama, Matt Hendrix of Clemson and Lee Williams of Auburn rounded out the top individuals, tying for fourth with scores of 209.
This will mark the Vols ninth appearance in the NCAA Championships. The last time Tennessee competed in the Championships in 1997 saw the Vols finish 28th. Tennessee's highest finish came in 1980 when it claimed a sixth place finish.