Fields, Longhorns ready for NCAA Austin Regional Golf Championships
May 14, 2009
The Texas Longhorns aren't strangers to the unique pressures of NCAA postseason golf. Last year, UT shot a collective 2-over par in the final round of the NCAA regional tournament, and then stood tough in a three-team, five-hole playoff to earn one of 10 NCAA Championships bids available at the 2008 NCAA West Regional Championship.
Now, the Longhorns head into another rugged regional tournament, but this time with a home course advantage. The University of Texas Golf Club is the host course for the NCAA Austin Regional Championships, and UT coach John Fields checked in with TexasSports.com before Thursday's opening round to share some final thoughts.
On preparing for the NCAA Regional at UT’s home course: This is a unique situation. Unlike so many other sports, we knew a year-and-a-half in advance that we would host this regional. All year long, we’ve been preparing for this regional at our course. We’ve been talking about it and thinking about it. Our practices and our entire thought process revolved around preparing for this regional at our home course.
On the changes made to the course at the UT Golf Club: We were handed a course that was 7,150 yards. Today, it has tremendous length, by comparison, at 7,412 yards. It really plays its length, which is commensurate with today’s equipment and new technology. We added new bunkers and took others out. We added to the fairways, and we moved the entire green on No. 13. The result is a golf course that is that much more capable of hosting championship events. As a result, we have the chance to host a NCAA men’s golf regional for the first time. We’re very proud of it. We’ve had a lot of good feedback. The ultimate goal is to host a national championship some day.
On the benefits of having three players with prior NCAA regional experience: It helps that you have two guys (juniors Charlie Holland and Lance Lopez) who have advanced twice through the NCAA regional. We also have Bobby Hudson, who has played in one. What they bring is a definite experience of what the regional means. The regional has finality attached to it. If you play well, you advance, and if you don’t, you’re gone. You must play golf the way it is meant to be played and not focus on the outcome at this golf tournament. Those three guys have been able to do that. They know that the concept of ‘one shot at a time’ becomes really important at this tournament.
On the team’s approach to the NCAA regional: When you come to a golf tournament, you need to get comfortable with the course. We have had a whole year to get comfortable, more than that in most cases with our players. We have that behind us, but the most important thing is to go out and take it for what it is. It is a golf tournament on our home course we play all the time. What we want to do is play it like we normally do. If we play like we normally do, the guys will see success. Success in our case is to advance to the NCAA Championships.