Five things to watch in NCAA men’s golf tournament

05/22/2014 8:02 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Five things to watch in the NCAA men’s golf tournament, which starts Friday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.

The next Tiger. Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers won the NCAA regional in Eugene, Ore., giving him 11 career collegiate victories. That matches Tiger Woods’ team record at Stanford. Rodgers hopes to become Stanford’s first individual national champion since Woods in 1996. Rodgers was chosen the Ben Hogan Award as the nation’s top college golfer over the last 12 months.

Dominant Crimson Tide. Alabama is the top-ranked team in the country after winning the Auburn Regional by 22 shots. Alabama is in the championship for the 17th time but is seeking just its second team crown. The Tide won last year in Atlanta.

Yellow Jackets on a roll. Georgia Tech, led by Hogan award finalist Ollie Schniederjans, is coming off a 17-shot victory in a regional in Raleigh, N.C. Georgia Tech has been runner-up four times since 1993 but has never won a NCAA golf title.

Balanced Cowboys. Oklahoma State got contributions from several players in winning the regional hosted by Missouri. Oklahoma State senior Talor Gooch and sophomore Jordan Niebrugge each posted a 6-under 210 total for three rounds, 1 shot behind regional individual champion Emilio Cuartero of Mizzou.

16-time champion. Houston qualified for the NCAA championships for the first time in 13 years, but it has had a lot of success in the past. Houston has a record 16 team championships since the NCAA tournament began in 1939, but the last came in 1985.

| Tom Smith, tomsmith@kcstar.com

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