The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team begins the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships Friday at Grayhawk Golf Club. The Mocs are one of 30 teams in the 156-player field with eyes on the prize.
The field plays 54 holes Friday through Sunday before a cut to complete stroke play. The top 15 teams and nine individuals on non-advancing squads move on to crown the individual champ for 2023 and locate the top eight teams that head to match play on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Coach Blaine Woodruff is well-versed in this process.
He helped Pepperdine to the 2021 National Championship and a Final FORE berth last year before heading east to the Scenic City.
"I think it helps," Woodruff shared. "I don't know how many coaches out here have seen as many competitive rounds as I have. During the practice round, I didn't want to overload them with information, but I felt like I had a lot for them too, so it's trying to kind of find that balance.
"We'll get the pins tonight and kind of go over each of those a little bit more in depth and what we did today. The foundation (prep work) has been done, and then there's a little additional info tonight getting ready for tomorrow, and we'll do that each night before the round.
"But it's time to go play now."
This is the program’s third team entry and fifth overall visit to the finals. This year’s group advanced from the Auburn Regionals finishing third at 2 over behind Auburn (-1) and Vanderbilt (E). Ohio State (+8) and Colorado State (+10) also qualified ending up fourth and fifth, respectively.
It’s the same lineup for Woodruff with John Houk, Paul Conroy, Garrett Engle, Samuel Espinosa and Braedon Wear in the starting lineup. Alex Cobb is here as the alternate. This starting five is responsible for two of the Mocs four wins in 2022-23 with both coming in the spring semester at Wofford (-43) and Indiana (+18).
Chattanooga is the No. 28 seed at Auburn ranked No. 41 in the country per Golfstat. All 30 teams are in the top 50 with a spirited battle ahead for the crowns. The Mocs open play at 11 a.m., Eastern Time, Friday morning playing with New Mexico and Colorado. The groups begin on the 10th hole as the last groups of the morning wave.
Scoring and pairings, when available, are linked above along with a comprehensive stats/notes package including history in the NCAA Tournament on pages 5-6.
NCAA Championships - Finals
May 26-31 (Fri-Wed) | Scottsdale, Ariz. | 72 holes (18 per day)