May 23, 2006
Los Angeles, CA (May 23) - In the world of collegiate golf, the Loyola Marymount men's golf program has become the nation's Cinderella story. The starting point was its first ever West Coast Conference championship in April, defeating five teams that were ranked in the top-75 in the process. But last week at the NCAA West Regional, the Lions made the most noise and they have gained much more attention as they head to their first NCAA Men's Golf Championships at the end of the month.
The Lions head to the 2006 NCAA Golf Championships as the 25th seed in the 30-team format. The Lions will play their practice round on Monday, May 29 at 12:30 p.m. starting from the 10th tee at the Crosswater Golf Course in Sunriver, Ore. They will tee from the 1st tee at 8:40 a.m. on Tuesday in their final practice round. They will then begin play in their first-ever NCAA Championship from the 10th tee on Wednesday, May 31 at 8:37 a.m. The Lions will play with Auburn and South Carolina in the first two rounds.
LMU will enter the Championships as Golfweek.com's Team of the Week, the first national honor given to the Lions in program history. The honor was well earned for the Lions as they went up against its toughest competition in school history last week at the NCAA West Regional and came through better than anyone expected.
The Lions entered the regional ranked 116th by the Golfweek.com sagarin rankings and had 24 of the 26 other teams in the field ranked higher. That didn't bother the Lions, as they finished better than all but five of those 24 teams. According to most in the golf world, the Lions' at a 25 seed is the highest seed to ever advance out of a regional since they began in 1989.
In addition, LMU came into last week's play without a higher finish against a top-25 team in recorded history. However, they took care of a pair of them and equaled another as they tied with 10th-ranked BYU, defeated East Tennessee State by two strokes and 19th-ranked Baylor by 22 strokes. They also added six more higher finishes against top-50 opponents, including #43 Pepperdine (four strokes), #33 New Mexico (11 strokes), #31 Alabama (13 strokes), #40 Stanford (13 strokes), #29 San Diego State (15 strokes) and #44 Houston (15 strokes).
Heading into next week's Championships, the Lions will once again be surrounded by the top of the NCAA golf ladder. The Lions are lowest ranked team in the regional at 102nd with Nevada next at 67th. LMU's playing partners the first two rounds in South Carolina and Auburn are ranked 24th and 25th, respectively.
But according to Head Coach Alex Galvan, rankings and seedings are irrelevant. "We are just focusing on our next objective," said Galvan. "The 25-seed was not important to us at the regionals. All we wanted to do was finish in the top-10 and advance. Once again, the seed doesn't matter. All we are focused on is the next objective. I have so much going on in my head right now, I can't think past the next day. So I have to keep it simple. Our next goal is to make in the top-15 to make the cut for the final day."
For the Lions it will be just another day at the office in what has turned into the most successful season in program history. They are just the second team in the school's history to be playing for a national title at the NCAA Division I level. The women's water polo team, despite a low seeding, upset Stanford in their own pool to advance to the National Championship in 2004.
High seeds, low seeds, ranked or not, it doesn't matter - as you have probably heard, they have made it to the NCAA Championship and are aiming to make even more noise.
- GO LIONS -