May 15, 2013
NCAA PULLMAN REGIONAL WEBSITE | TCU NCAA REGIONAL NOTES
FORT WORTH--TCU men's golf begins national postseason competition for the 24th consecutive season this week when the squad heads to Pullman, Wash., for the 2013 NCAA Regional Championships Thursday through Saturday at Washington State's Palouse Ridge Golf Club.
The NCAA Pullman Regional is one of six qualifying events for this year's NCAA Championships, which will be played May 28 through June 2 at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course in Alpharetta, Ga. Only the top-5 teams from each regional will advance to the national tournament, along with the top individual finisher from each site not playing for a qualifying team.
The course at Palouse Ridge will play 7,308 yards during this week's tournament and feature a par score of 72 during each of the three rounds of competition. Palouse Ridge is a links-style course that has garnered numerous national awards since opening in 2009. Golfweek listed it No. 3 among college courses, while it garnered runner-up mention for best new courses in 2009 by both Golfweek and Golf Digest. The course served as the host site for Pac-12 women's championship in 2012 and is set to hold the Pac-12 men's tournament in 2014.
TCU will enter the weekend as the tournament's No. 2 seed. Joining the Frogs in the field will be the following teams, listed in order by seed: Cal, USC, St. Mary's (Calif.), Virginia Tech, BYU, North Texas, Baylor, San Diego State, Ball State, Memphis, Pacific, Princeton and Saint Francis (Pa.). Each of the top-9 seeds is listed among the top 45 of Golfweek's latest national performance index, including No. 1 Cal, which has held down the top ranking all season.
Five additional individuals from non-qualifying teams will compete for the one NCAA qualifying spot reserved for the top finisher not on an advancing team.
The Frogs will be continuing a longstanding tradition of playing at NCAA Regionals this week. The program, led by 26th-year head coach Bill Montigel, is one of only four teams in the country to make appearances with the same head coach for each of the last 24 seasons along with Clemson, UNLV and Florida. The appearance also continues a streak that ranks as the longest team postseason run in TCU history for all sports. The Frog women's golf program owns an active streak of 18 Regional appearances to rank second, while the men's tennis program went to 16 straight Regionals from 1991 through 2006.
At stake for this season's TCU squad is the chance to reach the NCAA Championships for the 17th time in program history, as well as the fourth time in the last five seasons. The squad earned trips to the national event back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010 before returning in 2012 following a one-year absence.
TCU will be back to full strength this weekend following the return of freshman Paul Barjon from injury. The lineup will be comprised, in order, or sophomore Julien Brun, Barjon and seniors Daniel Jennevret, Eli Cole and Pontus Gad. Each of the five golfers is ranked among the top 125 of Golfweek's national individual performance index, as the Frogs join Cal as the only teams in the field to own that distinction.
All teams will participate in a practice round on Wednesday prior to Thursday's opening round. Tee times for Rounds 1 and 2 begin at 8 a.m. PDT on Thursday and Friday, followed by a 7:30 a.m. PDT start Saturday.
The NCAA Pullman Regional has an event website online. Live online scoring will be provided by Golfstat.com.
SUCCESSFUL SEASON CONTINUES
TCU is in the home stretch of one of its most successful seasons in Montigel's 26-season tenure. The Frogs, currently ranked No. 7 nationally according to Golfweek and No. 9 in the Golf Coaches Association of America poll, have won two event titles this seasonand tied a program record for most individual tournament victories (four) set previously in 2002-03 and matched last season. TCU also posted victories in both of its dual matches this season, at Pepperdine (4-1) and against then-No. 8 Georgia Tech (3.5-2.5). Included in this season's team accomplishments:
- Two team victories: Carmel Cup, Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate
- No. 7 team ranking by Golfweek is program's highest this late in a season dating back to at least 2002
- Four individual victories (ties program record): Julien Brun - 3 (ties program record); Paul Barjon - 1
- Eight top-3 team finishes in 11 tournaments, including four runner-up efforts
- All five golfers ranked among nation's top-125 individuals by Golfweek
- Reached NCAA Regional play for the 24th consecutive season (TCU Athletics record)
BRUN CONTINUES BRILLIANT CAREER
Julien Brun has picked up right where he left off at the end of last season, when he was a first-team All-American and reserve medalist at the NCAA Championship. Last week, he became one of three finalists, and the first-ever Horned Frog, for The Ben Hogan Award, the most prestigious individual honor in college golf.
Among Brun's accomplishments since the end of last season include:
- Three college tournament titles (Carmel Cup, Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate, National Invitational Tournament), which matched the TCU season record he set last season.
- A stroke average of 70.45, which also is on pace to break a TCU season record that he set last season (70.51).
- National rankings of No. 3 (Golfstat) and No. 4 (Golfweek)
- World amateur rankings of No. 5 (R&A) and No. 7 (Scratch Players)
- All-Big 12 selection
- Top-10 finishes in eight of 11 events with five top-5's
- Became only the sixth amateur ever to win a European Challenge Tour event back in November at the ALLIANZ Golf Open Toulouse Metropole in Selih, France
- Led France to third place at the World Amateur Team Championship in November in Antalya, Turkey, with a fourth-place individual finish
- Helped lead Team Europe to a comeback win over Team USA at the 2012 Palmer Cup in Northern Ireland last June.
Brun will participate in the events surrounding the presentation of The Ben Hogan Award on Monday as part of the 2013 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The three-man group of finalists, which also include Cal's Michael Kim and Washington's Chris Williams, will play nine holes at Colonial Country Club early in the day prior to the black-tie awards dinner that evening. Coverage of the presentation will be aired live on the Internet at TheBenHoganAward.org.
BACK FROM A BAD BREAK
Eli Cole is experiencing his best season as a Horned Frog in his final year on campus despite having to overcome some tough circumstances. Cole missed the entire 2011-12 season after suffering a major lower right leg injury in a friendly soccer game back home in California during the offseason. He snapped both his tibia and fibula in the accident.
Cole was held out of competition for more than a full year before his first tournament at the 2012 U.S. Amateur. He made it a successful debut, qualifying for the match-play portion of the event after surviving a 15-man sudden-death playoff. This season has been by far the best of Cole's career, and his return to the lineup has been one of the paramount reasons behind TCU's jump into the national top 10.
Among Cole's highlights include:
- Ranks No. 89 in the Golfweek national performance index.
- On pace to set a career-best with a season stroke average of 72.45; his top previous figure was 75.00 in 2010-11
- Has posted five top-10 finishes in TCU's 11 tournaments, second on the team, after entering the season with just one in his career
- Earned his top individual finish as a Frog with runner-up honors at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate
Pontus Gad has experienced an impressive comeback of his own this season following a sub-par campaign in 2011-12. Gad, a regular for TCU in both of his first two seasons on campus, struggled so much that he was held out of the team's 2012 postseason lineup.
Gad responded by taking serious action in the offseason. He returned home to Sweden to work on his game and even extended his absence from TCU through the fall semester before returning in January. The break proved to be a turning point for his Frog career, as he has responded with one of the top seasons by a Frog in the last decade.
Among Gad's season highlights are:
- Has climbed to a career-high position of No. 58 in the Golfweek national performance index
- His season stroke average of 71.85 is on pace to rank among the top-15 seasons by a TCU golfer since 1997
- Is on pace to cut nearly 2.5 full strokes off of his previous best season figure
- His season stroke average ranks No. 48 nationally in and second on the team
- Has three top-10 finishes in nine tournaments, two more than in any of his previous seasons
Daniel Jennevret, another native of Sweden, also is wrapping up his TCU career this season with the best effort of his long career. The Frogs' active career leader in tournaments played has shown consistent improvement each of the last two seasons and is a big reason why the squad has been able to make the jump into the national top 10.
Jennevret claimed an individual title in only his second tournament as a Frog at the 2009 Prestige at PGA West, but he truly arrived last season, when he consistently posted top-20 finishes for TCU. The success only grew over the summer when he finished as the top medalist in the stroke play portion of the British Amateur Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland. Jennevret fired a amateur course-record 65 in the final round to claim the top honor, and he hasn't looked back since.
Among Jennevret's season highlights are:
- Has climbed to a career-high position of No. 68 in the Golfweek national performance index after finishing last season at No. 169
- Also has moved into 84th place on the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking list
- His season stroke average of 72.18 is on pace to set a career high by more than a full stroke over last season's figure (73.24)
- Ranks second on this year's team behind only Julien Brun with having led the Frogs on the individual leaderboard in two tournaments
- Has four top-5 finishes in 11 tournaments, third on the team
- Represented Sweden at the World Amateur Team Championship back in November in Antalya, Turkey
FANTASTIC FRENCH FROSH
TCU will receive a big boost this weekend with the return of Paul Barjon from a hand injury that kept the freshman out of the team's last two competitions, its dual match with Georgia Tech and the Big 12 Championship.
Barjon has been a high-impact addition for Montigel's squad this season after arriving from France in the offseason as one of world's top-100 amateur golfers. Following a brief adjustment period due to challenges of adapting to life both in the United States and college, Barjon has been fantastic. He actually won the last event in which he played, the U.S. Intercollegiate at Stanford, and will take a streak of four consective sub-70 rounds into this week's NCAA Regional.
Among Barjon's season highlights are:
- Ranks No. 122 in the most recent Golfweek national performance index, placing TCU's entire five-man lineup in the national top-125
- Has climbed into a career-high position of No. 51 on the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking list
- Is fifth on the team in season stroke average (72.73) but has a figure of only 71.9 since the start of the spring semester
- Has four top-10 finishes in TCU's 11 tournaments and has finished in the top-25 in each of his last four events
- Joined teammate Julien Brun in leading France to third-place honors at the World Amateur Team Championship back in November in Antalya, Turkey