NORMAN, Okla. The OU men’s golf team has been selected to participate in the NCAA Central Regional Championship May 17-19 at the Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. The Sooners’ selection marks the seventh consecutive time under head coach Jim Ragan that they have been chosen for the regional field, every year of his OU tenure.
The 27-team field will be narrowed to 10 teams that will advance to the NCAA Championships, held May 30-June 2 at the Gold Course at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg, Virginia.
“We are thrilled to have been selected to play in this year’s Regional Championship,” said Ragan. “The guys have battled back after struggling early in the season and we feel as though we are playing our best golf at the right time.”
OU enters the tournament battle tested, having competed against 11 of the top-15 teams in Golfweek’s latest poll. The Sooners played the 27th hardest schedule in the nation according to Golfweek, competing against 42 opponents ranked in its top-25 poll.
Oklahoma has earned five top-10 finishes on the year, including fifth-place finishes at the Oklahoma Intercollegiate and the Big 12 Championship.
OU is led by the 2007 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Jesse Schutte. The Florence, Ore., native has earned four top-20 finishes on the season and is coming off of an 11th-place showing at the conference tournament. Schutte finished a season-best fifth at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational the week prior to the Big 12 Championship after rounds of 68, 70 and 70.
Golfstat ranks OU’s freshman class as the 23rd-best in the nation based on 2006-07 play with a stroke average of 74.57.
Oklahoma finished seventh at last season’s NCAA Central Regional in Chardon, Ohio, coming off of the 2006 Big 12 Championship title. OU went on to finish 29th at the NCAA Championship, held at the 7,630-yard Sunriver Resort-Crosswater Club in Sunriver, Ore.
Ragan has guided the Sooners to five top-15 finishes at the regional tournament, including the 2001 regional title held at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.
OU closes out the regular season May 12-13 as it hosts The Maxwell in Ardmore, Okla. The 54-hole event will be contested at the par-70 Dornick Hills Country Club.
CENTRAL REGIONAL TEAMS (Seeded in the following order): Alabama, Oklahoma State, Lamar, Texas A&M, Louisville, Tennessee, Tulsa, Texas, TCU, Michigan State, Minnesota, Southeastern Louisiana, Northwestern, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Purdue, Wichita State, Southern Methodist, Baylor, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, OKLAHOMA, Illinois State, Western Illinois, Siena and Texas Southern.