May 21, 2014
Boilermakers Aim For Cinderella Finish at NCAA National Championship
For the first time since 2005, the Purdue men's golf team will compete during NCAA Golf's ultimate weekend, the NCAA National Championships, to be held May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas. Needing a top-five placing at last weekend's NCAA Central Regional to advance, the Boilermakers finished third to reach its 27th NCAA National Championship in school history.
The Boilermakers will enters the Championships as the lowest-ranked team (No. 48) according to the latest Golfweek / Sagarin collegiate rankings released on Sunday after NCAA Regionals were completed, but that shouldn't matter to a determined Boilermaker squad.
The Boilermakers enter the Championships with a surprising 10-19-3 against the other 29 teams in the field and own head-to-head wins over top-25 squads Georgia, California, Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina, Florida State and USC.
Purdue Surges in Final Two Rounds to Reach National Championship
After sitting in ninth place, 17 shots off the lead after the first round of the NCAA Central Regional, the Boilermakers knew what they needed to do to reach the NCAA Championship round. And they proceeded to go out and do it.
Playing in absolutely-brutal weather conditions at Rich Harvest Farms (38 degrees, rain, wind), the Boilermakers recorded the best round of the tournament (even-par 288) to move up to sixth place, then surpassed three more teams in Saturday's final round with a 9-over par 297 to finish in third place and reach their first NCAA Championship since 2005.
Purdue's final two rounds (9-over par 585) was the best score over the final two rounds, besting champion Illinois by two strokes (11-over par 587).
Purdue's 288 in the second round was the program's third-best NCAA Regional round in school history (30 rounds played).
The NCAA Central Regional was easily the hardest of all six regionals with the winning score being 16-over par 880. The scoring average was 77.29 strokes per round, 2.26 strokes above the next-toughest regional (Auburn - 75.13). However, the 16-stroke margin between first and fifth equaled the closest margin of any regional (San Antonio), making it one of the most competitive.
Youth Being Served on Purdue Roster
Purdue sports one of the youngest lineups in the Big Ten and is well-positioned to move up in the Big Ten ranks in the near-future. Three of Purdue's top six players are freshmen (Austin Eoff, Philippe Schweizer, Fernando Barco) and two more (junior Enzo Perez and sophomore Stuart Macdonald) will also return for the 2014-15 season.
Eoff was one of two Big Ten freshmen to earn All-Big Ten honors (Minnesota's Jose Mendez -- Big Ten medalist) and sports the second-lowest season stroke average for a freshman in Purdue history (73.11 strokes per round), which is also the lowest career average for a Purdue player in school history (at least 30 rounds played).
Schweizer's scoring average (74.58) is the ninth lowest for a freshman in school history, while Barco, who joined the program at the semester break in January, showed off his talent with a 26th-place finish at the Boilermaker Invitational late in the season.
Schenk Wrapping Up Remarkable Career
Senior Adam Schenk is wrapping up a sensational Purdue career and he hopes to lead the Boilermakers to their first NCAA Championship since 1961 and second in school history. Consider the following:
... ranks second (since 1997) on the Purdue single-season stroke average list (72.36).
... ranks second (since 1997) on the Purdue career stroke average chart (73.31); behind Austin Eoff (73.11).
... ranks second (since 1997) on the Purdue career top-10 finish list (19 in 47 career events).
... had a streak of 13 straight rounds at or under-par from Oct. 27 to April 6, a span of 172 days.
... finished in the top 16 individually in eight of his first nine tournaments of the season.
... fired a opening-round 65 at the USF Invitational, the fourth-best score in school history; his 201 at the event was the second-best score in school history.
... recorded back-to-back top-10 finishes at the NCAA Regional, placing 10th this year after placing ninth as a junior.
Purdue is making its 27th NCAA Championship appearance, but just its fifth since 1981. Purdue has recorded 17 top-10 finishes at NCAA Nationals.
In the first nine events of the season, Purdue recorded a 84-26-7 (.748) head-to-head record; last four events, Purdue is 32-16-0 (.667) head-to-head.
The Boilermakers have finished in the top half of every tournament played this year.
All five of Purdue's counting-team players have been Purdue's low tournament score at least once this year.
Purdue's final-round 270 at the USF Invitational (March 4) was the lowest 18-hole score in school history.
Purdue players have recorded five rounds of 66 or better this year; prior to this year, there were just 29 instances of 66 or better in school history.
Purdue has recorded five scores of 870 or better this year; prior to this season, Purdue had just 20 instances of 870 or better for a 54-hole tournament.
Purdue's 840 (283-287-270) at the USF Invitational smashed a school record by eight shots (Alister MacKenzie Invite; 2005-06) for a 54-hole team score.
Three current Boilermakers (Adam Schenk, Philippe Schweizer, Austin Eoff) all qualified for U.S. Open Sectional qualifying through local qualifying.