May 19, 2010
Tennessee's bid for consecutive trips to the NCAA Men's Golf Championship Finals begins Thursday with the first of three rounds at the NCAA San Diego Regional.
The Vols are seeded fourth in a 13-team field competing at Carlton Oaks Golf Club, located in the San Diego suburb of Santee. The top five teams from each of the six regionals advance to the NCAA Championships, set for June 2-6 at The Honors Course in Ooltewah.
Included in the San Diego field is top-seeded Oregon, ranked No. 1 in the nation according to Golfstat. UNLV, Augusta State and host San Diego State round out the top five seeds and those teams all are ranked inside the top 30, including the No. 24 Vols. Eleven of this regions 13 teams are ranked in the top 64 nationally by Golfstat.
"It's time to go play," UT head coach Jim Kelson said after seeing the regional selections. "Coming off a disappointing SEC tournament, we're looking to rebound and finish off the year in style. This team is more than capable of advancing to the national championship again and competing very well against the best teams in the country."
The Vols placed eighth at last month's SEC Championships but won't be bothered by their conference brethren while in California. The SEC led all leagues for the second year in a row with 10 selections among this year's 81-team field, but Tennessee is its lone representative in San Diego.
UT was seeded fourth a year ago and nearly won the regional in Galloway, N.J., falling to Alabama on the final hole but advancing with its second-place finish. The Vols are trying to snap an every-other-year run and qualify for back-to-back trips to the finals for the first time since a three-year stretch from 1995-97.
Under Kelson, Tennessee has earned 11 consecutive NCAA regional bids and advanced to the NCAA finals in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Holmes earned 2010 All-SEC second team honors, and his stroke average of 72.90 is second on the team and 18th among league leaders. His 65 at February's Battle at the Beach in California was UT's low round of the season, and his best finish was sixth while helping the Vols win the season-opening Carpet Capital Collegiate for the first time in school history.
Renwick stands second on the team with 12 rounds of par or better and third with a 73.20 stroke average. The sophomore won the season-opening Carpet Capital for his first career victory, then finished second at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate in October. For his efforts, Renwick was named this year's initial SEC Golfer of the Week.
Wingardh also was named to the All-SEC second team. His 72.87 stroke average -- 17th among SEC leaders -- leads Tennessee; his three top-10 finishes and 16 rounds of par or better pace the squad as well. Wingardh's best score of 66 this year came at the Administaff Augusta State Invitational in April en route to a sixth-place showing, while his top finish was third at the Carpet Capital.
Vandeventer earned Freshman All-SEC honors after turning in his best collegiate finish at the recent SEC Championships. The Bristol native placed 22nd at Sea Island (Ga.) Golf Club thanks in part to a second-round 69 that tied his season low. Vandeventer over his last three events owns a stroke average of 72.67, exactly two strokes lower than his season mark of 74.67.
Porteous is playing his best golf to continue a second-half surge. He was not in Tennessee's lineup for any of the year's first five events, but has been a mainstay over the last five. Only once during this recent stretch has he finished outside the top-50, and his best effort was a 12th-place showing -- after a closing round of 66 -- at the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational. Porteous also tied for low-team honors at the SEC Championships by finishing 22nd.
The Vols begin competition Thursday on the 10th tee at 8:20 a.m. Pacific time (11:20 a.m. Eastern), playing alongside fifth-seeded San Diego State and sixth-seeded California. The course at Carlton Oaks plays to par 72 and covers 7,360 yards.
Weather conditions should be ideal through the weekend. Inland temperatures are expected to reach 80 degrees Thursday, with Friday and Saturday highs in the mid to low 70s.
Live scoring is available each day on UTsports.com via Golfstat.com.