By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY Mo. – (First Round | Second Round) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the first and second round pairings for the 2013 NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships. The 62nd annual event will take place at Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore., May 14 – 17.
First round action will tee off on May 14 at 7 a.m. PDT, with Texas Wesleyan, Wayland Baptist (Texas) and Missouri Baptist starting on No. 1. Following that group is Julian Taylor of William Woods (Mo.), Andrew Johnson of Warner Pacific (Ore.) and Vance Edwards of Houston-Victoria (Texas), who open play on No. 10 at 7:20 a.m. The afternoon session starts at 12 p.m. with Lee (Tenn.), Southeastern (Fla.) and Central Methodist (Mo.) at No. 1. The Master’s (Calif.), St. Francis (Ill.) and Graceland’s (Iowa) Andrew Moffat begin play on No. 1 at 12:20 p.m.
Grand View (Iowa), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and Blue Mountain (Miss.) will open the second round on the back nine at 7 a.m. on May 15. Bellevue (Neb.), Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) and Michael Fitzgerald of Holy Cross (Ind.) begin at 7:30 a.m. on hole one. Similarly to round one, afternoon play starts at 12 p.m. as Cal State San Marcos, Faulkner (Ala.) and Davenport (Mich.) hit the links at No. 10. Trevor Banks of Virginia Intermont, Brady Klotz of Bethel (Ind.) and Shane Penden of Bethel (Tenn.) tee off on the front nine at 12:20 p.m.
The 156-player field is made up of 21 automatic qualifying teams, who won their respective conference/independent/unaffiliated group tournament, six at-large team selections based on the final regular-season NAIA Men’s Golf Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, Corban (Ore.) (host berth) and 16 individual qualifiers.
Six teams that finished in the top 10 at last year’s national championships return to the field, including defending national champion and second-ranked Oklahoma City. The Stars, whose 2012 title was their eighth in the last 11 years, look to become the first repeat champion since winning back-to-back crowns in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Oklahoma City returns two individuals from its 2012 squad in Michael Palmer and James Marchesani.
The 16 individual qualifiers include 15 automatic selections and one at-large. To receive an individual automatic berth a player must win his respective conference tournament or regular-season individual title. Of the 16, Taylor and Bethany’s (Kan.) Ben Johnson are the only returnees from 2012 that advanced past the 54-hole cut. The at-large individual – Banks – was selected by the national championship tournament committee.