Kimberley’s Jared du Toit and the University of Idaho Vandals men’s golf team will see their campaign continue at The Farms Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
The NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Committee announced its selections for six regional tournaments, set to run May 14 to 16 across the United States. The selections were announced Monday morning on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive.
“It’s really cool. I don’t think it gets much better than San Diego,” du Toit said over the phone from Moscow, Idaho, Monday afternoon. “The weather is great there all year and from what I’ve heard, the golf course there is really cool, too. We did a little research before the selection process and that was the site I definitely wanted to go to.
“We kind of got lucky with where we get to go. We were pretty optimistic the whole time and when it did come up that we were going to San Diego, we were all really excited.”
The Farms Golf Club is located approximately 37 km north of San Diego and presents 6,947 yards of terrain for golfers to tackle.
“I’ve talked to a couple people that have played [The Farms] and they’ve all been really big fans,” du Toit said. “From what I’ve heard, it’s a really fair golf course. If you can hit the ball decent out there, from what I’ve heard, it’s a ball-strikers’ golf course. Our team, that’s one of our strengths. I think it suits us pretty well.”
du Toit and the Vandals, seeded 10th at the regional tournament hosted by the University of San Diego Toreros, will face stiff competition in southern California as three nationally-ranked squads join them in search of a ticket to the NCAA National Golf Championship, set for May 29 to June 3 at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
Arizona State University (ASU) is the top-seeded team heading to The Farms Golf Club, ranked fourth nationally. ASU is joined by the University of Oklahoma (T9) and 11th-ranked Georgia Institute of Technology.
Apart from being the top-ranked team at the regional event, ASU also boasts the top-ranked amateur men’s golfer in the world.
Jon Rahm-Rodriquez, of Barrika, Spain, is the world’s top amateur men’s golfer as of April 26, having claimed three solo victories and a total of seven top-five finishes in 11 events this season.
“It’s a pretty star-filled tournament,” said du Toit, who is ranked 203rd in the world amateur ranks. “A lot of those teams have pretty big names, but we played with them a couple times this year throughout different tournaments and a lot of those teams we’ve actually beat one-on-one quite a bit.
“If we play solid, we can get out of that site for sure. We were kind of excited to see the teams that were in there and that we’ve beaten them in the past.
“If all of us put in good preparation this coming week and we’re ready come game time and we do execute during game time, I think we have a pretty good shot at getting out. We’re all really optimistic. The ball is in our court and we’re excited to turn some heads out there.”
The Vandals and Sun Devils both competed at the Itani Quality Homes Collegiate in Pullman, Wash., back in September 2014 with Idaho finishing fifth and Arizona State landing in sixth.
The Vandals might be an underdog heading to the San Diego regional tournament, but that’s the nature of the game at this level.
Mike Carter, chair of the Division I Men’s Golf Committee, explained how teams are assigned to each regional tournament on Morning Drive.
According to Carter, the top six ranked teams are assigned to the regional event closest to their school. From there, the committee uses an S-curve system to assign each remaining team, removing as much subjectiveness from the process as possible.
“All in all, it works out,” Carter said on Morning Drive. “The strength of the six fields are pretty even.”
A total of six, 54-hole regional tournaments pit the country’s best teams and individuals against one another.
du Toit and the Vandals qualified for NCAA regionals with a record-setting performance at the 2015 Big Sky Conference Men’s Golf Championship.
The Vandals set a Big Sky Tournament record with a three-day score of eight-under (856) breaking the previous mark of 860.
du Toit also left his mark at Greenhorn Creek Golf Resort in Angels Camp, Calif., firing a six-under 66 in his final round, good enough to tie the championship-course record.
“We’ve had a good season,” said head coach John Means in a press release following his squad’s victory at the Big Sky Conference Championship. “We played very well coming into the event. Our goal is to be able to play for the national championship. This is one of the steps we need to accomplish to get there and do that. We decided early in the season what our goals were, and winning the Big Sky by a large margin was a part of that.”
In addition to qualifying teams, 10 individual golfers from teams other than those qualified, will compete at The Farms Golf Club.
The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams will advance to the 2015 NCAA National Golf Championship.
The practice round for competitors at The Farms Golf Club is slated for Wednesday, May 13, with first-round action beginning Thursday, May 14.
Originally built in 1988, The Farms was redesigned in 2000 by golf course architect John Fought and PGA tour professional Tom Lehman.
Other host locations for NCAA regional events include: The Sagamore Club – Noblesville, Ind., (Ball State University); University of North Carolina Finley Golf Course – Chapel Hill, N.C., (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill); The Rawls Course – Lubbock, Texas, (Texas Tech University); Gold Mountain Golf Club – Bremerton, Wash., (University of Washington) and; The Course at Yale – New Haven, Conn., (Yale University).
Teams competing at The Farms Golf Club (in order of seed): 1) Arizona State University; 2) Georgia Institute of Technology; 3) University of Oklahoma; 4) University of New Mexico; 5) University of Virginia; 6) University of Georgia; 7) East Tennessee State University; 8) University of Mississippi ; 9) University of San Diego; 10) University of Idaho; 11) St. Mary’s College of California; 12) Wichita State University; 13) Eastern Kentucky University.