Part One of UNLV’s golf postseason didn’t go as well as the Rebels had hoped. Now it’s on to Part Two, where the stakes are higher.
As expected, UNLV was invited to the NCAA Tournament on Monday and was placed in the San Diego Regional, which will be played May 20-22 at Carlton Oaks Golf Course. UNLV was seeded No. 2 behind Oregon.
For the Rebels to advance to the NCAA Championships, to be held June 3 to 6 in Chattanooga, Tenn., they will have to finish in the top five in the 13-team regional. Thirty teams will qualify for nationals out of six regions.
"Getting a premier placing and staying out west is as good as you can ask for” coach Dwaine Knight said. "The key for us is taking advantage. You can’t afford to have a bad round and expect to move on."
UNLV is coming off a third-place finish at last week’s Mountain West Conference Championship in Tucson, Ariz., where it finished 15 shots behind Colorado State.
The Rams ran away from the field in the final round with a team score of 11-under 277 Saturday.
But what had Knight encouraged was the play of Eddie Olson.
The senior from Aptos, Calif., who had been battling an injury to his right wrist, finished second individually after playing his final two rounds 11 under par, shooting a second-round 64 and a final-round 67.
"Those last two rounds, he looked like Eddie Olson," Knight said. "He was able to move the ball and score. His wrist was fine, and that’s very encouraging for us. We need Eddie to play well if we hope to advance."
Knight also was encouraged by the play of sophomores Derek Ernst and Colby Smith, both of whom finished among the top 12 at the MWC tournament.
"Derek has had an outstanding year, and Colby is coming on," Knight said. "If those three can play well and we can get some good play out of Brett Kanda or Kevin Penner, I think we’ll have a good chance (to advance)."
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913.