GREENVILLE, N.C. --- The East Carolina men's golf team received an at-large bid to the 2012 NCAA Championships, as the Pirates were selected as one of 81 schools that will compete at one of six tournament sites, May 17-19, the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Committee announced Monday night.
The Pirates, who are making their second straight NCAA regional appearance and third overall, is seeded sixth among the 13 teams headed to the regional at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens.
"This is another first for our program," Pirate head coach Press McPhaul said. "We intend to go to Athens and play with a mindset to fight and grind to the end and do whatever we can to advance to the finals in Los Angeles.
"From the beginning our objective has been not merely to make it to a regional but to advance. That's our goal. We have a team that can do that and we are eager to accpet the challenge."
Joining the Pirates at the regional site are a foursome of top-25 teams, including No. 1 seed Alabama, who is ranked third in the latest Golf World/NIKE Golf Division I Coaches' Poll. Eleventh-ranked North Florida is the No. 2 seed, with No. 16 New Mexico and No. 25 Georgia seeded third and fourth followed by fifth-seeded Iowa. Long Beach State falls in line behind ECU with two-time defending champion Augusta State seeded eighth. Wake Forest, Houston, Texas-Arlington, UNC Wilmington and Loyola (Md.) round out the field.
The Pirates will play 18 holes each of the three days with a practice round on Wednesday. The top five squads and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Finals at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades., May 29 - June 3.
Last season, ECU competed at the regional in Radford, Va. and produced a ninth-place finish. Harold Varner and David Watkins finished tied for 19th at 6-over. Both players will be a part of the Pirates' five-man roster along with Zach Edmondson, Ryan Eibner and Adam Stephenson. This will be Varner's third trip to the post-season after receiving an at-large individual bid as a sophomore.
The Pirates are currently ranked 25th nationally by Golfstat.com and are 38th in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings. ECU finished among the top-5 in each of its 11 tournaments this season, posting one victory and two runner-up finishes. It also finished sixth at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championships with wins over Iowa and Oklahoma State.