Benton’s Patrick Newcomb will play in the Fayetteville, Ark., regional this week as the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship begins at six sites.
Newcomb, a senior at Murray State University, is in a field of 75 golfers assigned to the Fayetteville event at The Blessings Golf Club.
He earned automatic entry into the NCAA Division-I event by winning medalist honors at the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in Dickson, Tenn., at Greystone Golf Club on April 27.
In winning that event, Newcomb carded rounds of 69-70 --139 for a one-shot win which capped off his second straight season of being named OVC Player of the Year.
Newcomb and was ranked among the nation’s best with a scoring average of 71.3.
The NCAA Men’s Golf Championship is made up of six regionals that will combine to send 30 teams and six individuals not on those teams to the finals (May 28-June 2) at The Capital City Club, Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Ga.
Newcomb’s goal is to be the top individual not among the five teams that will advance out of Fayetteville.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Championship,” Newcomb said. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do since I came to Murray State in 2010.”
Newcomb was a member of a state championship team at Marshall County High School before following his brother, Nick, to the MSU golf team.
“I’m going to continue to work hard in practice leading up to the event and go down there and compete,” he said.
College golf is a team sport, but the individual aspect of the game is also part of it and this is what Newcomb will be concentrating on in Fayetteville.
“All of these guys play their own game within the team game all the time, so it is a little different, but not that much,” MSU coach Eddie Hunt said. “I’ve always felt Patrick would get to the NCAAs at some point, so we’re all happy to see him getting to play in Fayetteville.”
Other individuals joining Newcomb in Fayetteville are: Pep Angles (Central Arkansas), Chris Gilbert (Kansas), Paul McConnell (Texas-Arlington) and Mitchell McLeroy (Stephen F. Austin).
Newcomb is the No. 4 individual seed in Fayetteville.
Top seed Texas leads a field of 14 teams into the 54-hole event that also includes host Arkansas (No. 2 seed), Oklahoma State (3), SMU (4), Kent State (5), Illinois (6), Liberty (7), Tulsa (8), Kentucky (9), Colorado (10), Indiana (11), UNC Wilmington (12), UMKC (13) and Alabama State (14).
Newcomb will play his practice round at 9:20 a.m. CT Wednsday and 9:50 a.m. Thursday in the first round. He will start from the first tee both days.
The Blessings GC course was opened in 2004 and will play to a par of 72 and 7,251 yards for the event. The course also hosted the Southeastern Conference Women’s Championship in 2012.
Newcomb’s NCAA appearance is the first for the Racers since Cameron Carrico competed in 2011. The Racers made a team appearance after winning the OVC Championship in 2010.
The 2013 OVC champion, Austin Peay, was assigned to the regional at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz., as the No. 12 seed.
Jacksonville State’s Tomasz Anderson was selected at-large and sent to the regional in Baton Rouge, La., as the No. 2 individual seed at the University Club.
Other regional sites include Tallahassee, Fla. (host Florida State); Columbus, Ohio (host Ohio State); and Pullman, Wash. (host Washington State).