Hosted by Georgia Tech — and played at the Capital City Club-Crabapple Course in Milton — the NCAA Division I Golf National Championship kicked off six days of competition yesterday on one of the toughest, and longest, tracks in the southeast.
“It should be a great event,” said Bob Covington, a Capital City Club member and key component toward getting the championship to the course as tournament chairman. “Our club really embraces amateur golf and our members are very enthusiastic about hosting the event [for the next week].
“The course plays long and difficult, but it should be a good challenge to these young men.”
Tournament play began yesterday and will run through June 2.
Preliminary rounds feature all 30 schools engaging in 54 holes of stroke-play Tuesday through Thursday. The top 8 schools at the end of Thursday will advance to match-play on Friday, four teams will play on Saturday, and two schools will square off in the championship match on Sunday afternoon.
Competing schools include institutions from coast-to-coast like top-ranked California, second-ranked Alabama, defending national champion Texas, Washington, UCLA, Georgia and Georgia Tech — who is hosting the event for the first time on Crabapple’s 7,319 yard, par-70 layout.
“We’ve put in several bids [to host] over the years and are excited to do so this year,” said Georgia Tech men’s golf coach Bruce Heppler. “We’re excited to show people from all over the country the city of Alpharetta, the golf community here, and the tremendous courses we get to play on.”
The 2013 NCAA Championship will be the fifth large amateur event hosted by the Capital City Club — which puts an emphasis on amateur golf according to Covington.
The Crabapple Course was also home to the Cannon Cup in 2005, an NCAA Regional Qualifier in 2010, the American Junior Golf Association Rolex Tournament of Champions last summer, and the PING-Golfweek NCAA Championship Preview in the fall of 2012.
Heppler, whose team finished in a tie for first with top-ranked California in the 15-team preview in the fall, is hoping his Yellow Jackets’ experience on the lengthy-course will give them a leg up on the field.
“Our guys have the advantage of playing here a lot, and they all know their way around really well,” he said before describing the unique aspects of the course.
“The obvious challenge is the length, because most college players are used to hitting wedges into every green. Here your five and six irons are in play a lot more, so you have to drive it well.”
Daily tickets to the event are $15 for adults and $10 for youths and seniors. They can be purchased by contacting the Georgia Tech Ticket Office by phone (888-TECH-TIX), online, or visiting the box office.