Sixty years passed between NCAA men’s golf championships for LSU, a drought the Tigers ended last June with their historic 4-and-1 victory over Southern California in the national championship final.
This year’s Tigers are hoping they won’t have to wait nearly that long for the program’s sixth title.
LSU opens play Monday in the NCAA Franklin regional at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside Nashville.
Five teams from that three-round event and five other regionals around the country, plus the low individual golfer whose team does not make it out of a regional, advance to the NCAA championships, May 27-June 1 at Eugene (Oregon) Country Club.
LSU goes into its regional as the No. 3 seed behind top-seeded Texas and host Vanderbilt.
The Tigers are led by senior Zach Wright, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection with three individual titles this spring. Wright is the No. 10-ranked player nationally according to GolfStat, the second-ranked player in his regional behind only No. 1 Beau Hossler of Texas.
It’s been an up-and-down season for the Tigers after losing two key seniors — Ben Taylor and Stewart Jolly — off last year’s championship team.
The Tigers won their main fall tournament at the University Club, the David Toms Intercollegiate, and rolled to an impressive victory to start the spring season in The Prestige at PGA West over a talented field.
LSU finished fifth in the SEC championships last month in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
The regional format can be a dangerous one, nearly ending LSU’s championship hopes last season before they could start.
Playing in New Haven, Connecticut, the Tigers were 11 strokes out of the fifth and final qualifying spot before rallying to finish fifth with a 12-under 268 that was the low team round of the regional.
Louisiana Tech, which qualified by winning the Conference USA championship, is the No. 12 seed in the NCAA Marana regional at The Gallery Golf Club in Arizona. McNeese State, the Southland Conference champion, is in the Stillwater (Oklahoma) regional at Karsten Creek Golf Club as the No. 11 seed.
Also playing in the Stillwater regional as an individual is Louisiana-Lafayette’s Haraldur Magnus.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.