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Missouri men's golfers on bubble for postseason play

Sunday, May 6, 2012 | 9:23 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — After a disappointing eighth-place finish at the Big 12 Conference Men's Golf Championship last Sunday, Missouri must now anxiously wait to hear from the NCAA selection committee on Monday night to see if they have qualified to play in an NCAA regional tournament.  

The NCAA regional field will consist of 82 teams, 12 of which will receive automatic bids as a result of winning their respective conference championships.

The top 70 teams in the Golfstat NCAA Men's Division I rankings will receive at-large bids to the tournament. The Tigers are at No. 73 in Golfstat's most recent rankings.

However, Missouri is No. 66 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. By averaging both the Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, the Tigers sit at No. 69, which places them right on the bubble to get into the NCAA regional field.

Missouri coach Mark Leroux said he thinks his team is deserving of an NCAA regional tournament berth.

"Honestly, I do believe that we are at least one of the 70 best teams in the country," Leroux said. "We have been inside 70 all year and without that trip to Hawaii hurting us so much, there is no question that we get in."

"That trip to Hawaii" refers to the John A. Burns Intercollegiate, where a scoring card error caused the Tigers to drop from fifth place to 17th place after the second round, before recovering in the final round to finish in 15th.

The poor finish in Hawaii caused the Tigers to drop 20 spots in the national rankings, from 62 to 82, and Leroux said his team has been working hard to overcome the tragic mistake.

"I have talked to members of the selection committee directly and pleaded our case," Leroux said. "If you look at our body of work outside of that tournament, you can tell that we are are team that is deserving of a berth."

One Missouri golfer who does not have to worry about hearing his name called by the NCAA selection committee on Monday is junior Jace Long.

Long, who was named to the All Big-12 men's golf team on Thursday, is currently ranked No. 61 on the individual Golfweek/Sagarin rankings and is a lock to make the NCAA regional tournament as an individual.

Even though Long will certainly be continuing his season regardless of what happens on Monday, the junior All-American doesn't want to be the only Tiger playing in the regional tournament.

"The last thing I want is to only hear my name called and not have the whole team advance," Long said. "I think we are a top-60 team and if we get our name called, it will just be a breath of fresh air."

The team will gather at Leroux's house to watch the NCAA selection committee's announcements live online at 8 p.m. Monday.


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