Salisbury University and Central Oregon
Capture Alumni/Community and Faculty/Staff Divisions
Local Qualifier Results
November 9-11, 2007
Las Vegas, NV - Students Craig Heinzman and Kyle Lickenbrock from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville won the 2007 National Collegiate Golf Championship at The Badlands Golf Course in Las Vegas , NV . The victorious twosome shot a seven under par 65 in the two-man scramble event, edging out the team from Campbell University by one stroke to win the world's largest collegiate golf competition.
The 54 teams and 108 golfers from around the country that made the trek out to Las Vegas to vie for the National Champion found a challenging course and even stiffer competition. Throughout the summer and fall, over 1400 participants competed regionally in one of 35 local qualifying tournaments across the United States to decide who would earn the opportunity to represent their school in sixth annual National Collegiate Golf Championship. The Championship in Las Vegas truly represented the best of the best.
The Championship, formatted as a two-person scramble, is organized and facilitated by the Collegiate Golf Alliance (CGA) and officially endorsed by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). Portions of the proceeds benefit the NIRSA Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides opportunities for students through professional development, research, scholarships, and educational resources. The tournament hosts three divisions: Students, Faculty & Staff, and Alumni & Community.
Events of the weekend included a Friday night Pairings Party on the strip, the Advantage Fitness Products National Skills Challenge, and a practice round at Badlands Golf Club. Participants were able to get a feel for the Par 72 course, rated the “Best Desert Course in Las Vegas ” (2006) by Vegas Golfer Magazine and ranked in the “Top Ten Best Courses in Nevada ” by Golf Digest in 1997 and 1999.
Kicking off the Championship Shotgun Sunday morning, Jordan Ogron , a 2nd year competitor and current undergraduate student studying opera at the University of Southern California, sang the national anthem. From there the teams went to their starting holes and immediately began the hunt for birdies while avoiding the treacherous desert terrain of Badlands .
At the end of the day, it was Southern Illinois University Edwardsville who won the Student Division and the tournament overall, shooting seven under par with a score of 65. Competitors Craig Heinzmann and Kyle Lickenbrock were at the top of the leader board for most of the tournament, but still felt like they “didn't play as well as in the qualifier.” Regardless, the round went well for SIUE. Heinzmann described playing a strong first six holes, then related that “coming down the stretch we knew we needed to make birdies and we did. We were good when we needed to be. I'm going to enjoy coming back.” As part of their award for winning the Championship, Heinzmann and Lickenbrock will be invited back next year, all expenses paid.
Coming in right behind SIUE were Hunter Brown and Parker Reeves of Campbell University, who shot 6 under Par at 66. The Campbell Camels' representatives started well but really sped up their game around the eleventh hole, a Par 5, with a really good chip shot that scored them a birdie. Brown described another birdie on Hole 18: “that was pretty clutch.” However, Reeves said of the course overall, “Number 1 and Number 17 hurt my feelings.” We played pretty good—a little short of what we wanted.” Though bummed to come in such a close second, Brown and Reeves enjoyed the weekend. “It's a pretty big draw,” said Reeves, “to get to go somewhere like this.” This was the furthest the partners had ever traveled for a golf tournament.
In the Alumni & Community division, father-son duo William and Jeffrey King from Salisbury University finished in a tie with Marc Babyar and Matthew Markewicz from Marquette . The Kings laughed as they recalled the point in the tournament when they began to pull ahead—their first birdie on the 2nd hole of the Desperado nine. Before that point they were three over par, but concluded the tournament with a score of 72, even par. As impressive as their play in the Championship on Sunday, was the duo's performance in the National Skills Challenge on Saturday. Out of 108 competitors William finished in first place and Jeff in third. As his father went to accept the individual award, Jeff shook his head, “three months ago he was shaking his wedge…”
The school winning the most overall awards was Central Oregon Community College , with their Faculty & Staff golfers, Brett Fanning and Ricky Virk winning in their division, and Student competitors Christian and David Green tying with Texas Christian University for the Red Bull Final 5 Competition and winning several individual awards. While the Green twins talked big about their plans to dominate the tournament, it was their coaches who pulled ahead quickly, starting at five under par after their first few holes. In the end, Fanning and Virk finished shooting 69, tying with the Greens, and commented that they “left some shots out there” but overall were “happy with how [they] played.” As a school, Central Oregon was well represented with three teams, all of which seemed pleased to be a part of the tournament and reflected on a great weekend in Vegas.
Fanning said his favorite memory, though, was of the pre-tournament longest drive contest: “I laughed the hardest when I heard that [Christian] hit it over the houses.” The rivalry between the brothers was evident as David jumped in to explain that he, in fact, hit the house, out driving the end of the 350yd driving range. To no one's surprise, on Sunday, Christian won the on-course longest drive competition. He also left the tournament with a runner-up award in the National Skills Challenge and congratulated Christian on his awards: SWA Longest Drive on Saturday morning, another Longest Drive on Sunday, and 1st place on the almostGOLF Short Course Challenge. Golf competition veterans, modeling both the maturity and talent that comes with their experience, David and Christian explained that of the over 500 tournaments they've been a part of, this one was “up there—one of our favorites.”
Many other competitors also played impressively. With a score of 71, Steve Nagy and Peter St. Pierre from Western Kentucky came in second for the Faculty/Staff Division, and members of the CSUSB, Iowa , Richard Stockton College , Pomona , and Texas A&M University teams won individual awards. In addition to the Skills Challenges and on-course contests, sponsors offered prizes and packages for participants and winners. Southwest Airlines offered travel for many of the golfers; Upswing Golf provided a logoed personalized wedge to every player, Cutter and Buck, AlmostGolf, Gorilla Marketing and others donated Tee Bag gifts. The Hospitality Room for registration and Pairings Party at Gameworks were made possible by Matrix and Red Bull. Other sponsors included: Oakley Sunglasses, American Hole in One and Advantage Fitness Products.
Without a doubt, the NCGC Tournament participants were enthusiastic about the experience. Of their competition, golfers noted, “The different coaches we met were awesome” (David Green, COCC), and “All the guys were cool...weren't too serious” (Craig Heinzman, SIUE). Everyone had a great time mingling with other golfers, creating memories, and left Las Vegas with a renewed inspiration to perform at the caliber that will win them a spot in the tournament next year.
Mike Munson and Greg Long from CGA present Dave Koch, NIRSA Foundation Board Member a check for $8,154 for the 2007 NCGC program.
The tournament was organized and facilitated by the Collegiate Golf Alliance (CGA). The NCGC is part of the National Campus Championship Series and officially endorsed program with the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA). This year, the NCGC program consisted of over 1350 golfers representing over 100 different colleges and universities. Proceeds from the tournament benefited the NIRSA Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that provides opportunities for students through professional development, research, scholarships, and educational resources.
“I'm extremely proud of the growth and success of the program,” stated CGA's President and CEO Mike Munson. “The collegiate atmosphere, competition and the social aspect of the event is truly amazing.”
The CGA currently serves as the premier on-line golf events and registration company for over 1,400 colleges and universities across the United States. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cgagolflinks.com .