The NC State men’s golf team will travel to compete in the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona May 28 to June 2. This is the team’s first Championships appearance since 2018.
The Pack qualified for the Championships after tying for fourth place in the NCAA Kingston Springs Regional competition May 17-19. NC State’s starting lineup from Regionals was sophomore Max Steinlechner, graduate student Christian Salzer, senior Easton Paxton, graduate student Benjamin Shipp and sophomore Carter Graf.
Next stop: NCAA Championship‼️We finish in the top-five of the Regional to advance to the NCAA Championship which will be held May 28-June 2 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. pic.twitter.com/rpQfKI1Ad0— NC State Men's Golf (@PackMensGolf) May 19, 2021
Steinlechner moved steadily upward in his rankings in tournaments this season as he showed continued improvement. He finished in the top 15 in the last seven tournaments the Pack has competed in, including two second-place finishes. Most recently, Steinlechner finished at the top of the Pack’s lineup at the NCAA Regional event tied for eighth place.
Salzer had five top-15 finishes this season, with one second-place finish. He finished tied for 13th at the NCAA Regional event after getting two birdies on the last two holes on the third day to finish strong at the regional. Coming off of that incredible finish for the team, Salzer will hopefully keep up the impressive performance to keep the Pack in the tournament.
Paxton had an up-and-down season with tournament rankings. He only had two top-ten finishes this season, with one second-place finish in the first tournament of the year. Paxton tied for 28th place in the NCAA Regional event, which is about where he has been falling in other tournaments.
Shipp has six top-10 finishes, including two first-place finishes this season. He had an uncharacteristically low finish, tied in 28th place, in the NCAA Regional event. However, due to Shipp’s high performance up until that point, it is likely that his performance improves this weekend at the Championships.
Graf finished off the Pack’s lineup at the Regional event, with a tie for 51st place. He had three top-20 finishes this season out of the seven tournaments he competed in. Graf only shot under par in one tournament this year, so while he might be able to round out the Pack’s lineup, Graf doesn’t stand out as much as the other four.
There is hope for NC State to do well at the NCAA Championships, as its lineup is solid from top to bottom with players that have shown strengths at different points in the season. While NC State is ranked No. 10 in the coaches’ poll, the Pack’s opponents in this tournament take up all nine spots ahead of it.
The first day of the Championships is Friday, May 28 when the Pack will compete in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Grayhawk Golf Club. Live results can be found on ncaa.com.