Golf team ready for NCAA Championships

After capturing the NCAA Regional title in Ocala, the Florida Gators team gets set to take the next step in the 2011 season when it begins play at the 2011 NCAA Championships on Tuesday.

The Gators will be looking for the program’s fifth national title at the Karsten Creek Golf Course in Stillwater, Okla.

The first three rounds of the 30-team tournament will begin on Tuesday and continue through Thursday, with one round of 18 holes each day. The top eight teams after 54 holes will move on to match play beginning on Friday and lasting through the championship round on Sunday.

Head coach Buddy Alexander’s Gators enter the tournament as the fifth-seeded team, behind Oklahoma State (1), UCLA (2), Alabama (3) and Georgia Tech (4). The tournament is at Oklahoma State’s home course.

Florida has broken several records this season, winning five tournaments, the most since the 2003-04 season. Three players have won six individual tournament titles, matching Florida’s 1990 all-time high in a single season.

Those three players also rank in the top five of the lowest single-season stroke averages in school history: Senior Bank Vongvanij ranks first (70.70 in 33 rounds), sophomore Phillip Choi ranks fourth (71.00 in 33 rounds) and redshirt-senior Andres Echavarria ranks fifth (73.02 in 24 rounds). The only other former Florida golfer in the top five is Camilo Villegas, who had the lowest average in two different seasons.

Along with Vongvanij, Choi and Echavarria, sophomores Tommy Mou and Tyler McCumber round out the lineup.

Mou is coming off a career-low round after shooting two-under in the final round of the NCAA Southeast Regional tournament to give the Gators a first-place finish.

McCumber returns to the lineup after sitting out at the regional tournament with a broken