MCGILL: Historic Run Continues for Weiss at Regional
The Word on the Herd -- May 13, 2018
By Chuck McGill
The college golf journey for Marshall’s Alex Weiss continues Monday at Lonnie Pool Golf Course in Raleigh, North Carolina. Reaching an NCAA Men’s Golf Regionals – the first Herd golfer to do so since 2013 – is no small accomplishment.
MU golf coach Matt Grobe wants to make sure proper context is given to the achievement.
“It’s a bigger deal than I think most people know it is,” Grobe said. “To come out with the season he’s hard so far – and I’m not a historical guy – but it has to be one of the best historical seasons that we’ve ever had. His career is going to be one of the most historical careers we’ve had here.”
The native of Pickerington, Ohio, completed one of the most successful fall seasons in school history, recording four top-5 finishes in September and October. In the spring, he earned an individual bid to compete in regionals, the first MU men’s golfer since Nathan Kerns in 2013 to receive that selection. Weiss captured wins in the Joe Feaganes Invitational and WVU’s Health Care Mountaineer Invitational, and finished fourth and tied for fourth in two other events. He finished the fall season ranked No. 135 nationally, and was one of 45 players to earn an individual invitation to regional play. Weiss enters regionals with a stroke average of 70.77, which is the best finish for an individual in program history. He was the top finisher for the Herd in all nine tournaments during the 2017-18 season, and led the team in wins (two), top-5 finishes (six) and top-15 finishes (seven).
That is Weiss gets to continue his career in regional play. There are six regions, and Weiss will compete in the Raleigh Regional at North Carolina State’s home course. Weiss has the opportunity to play his way to NCAA championships, to be played at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma, May 25-30.
“This is a big step and a big achievement,” Weiss said. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to, but this is one step in the direction of an even bigger goal.”
Getting there, Weiss admits, will be a challenge. He hasn’t shied away from those this season, though.
There are 14 teams and five individuals competing at the Raleigh Regional. The top five teams advance to the NCAA championships, and then there is one spot left for an individual to advance. Weiss isn’t only competing against the four other individuals invited – Fresno State’s Alex Lee, Virginia Tech’s Mark Lawrence, Charlotte’s Conor Purcell and High Point’s Brendan MacDougall – but he needs to beat out all players from the teams that do not finish in the top five, too.
Teams competing in the regional are Georgia Tech, California, Texas, Arizona State, Duke, N.C. State, Liberty, Missouri, Santa Clara, Campbell, Middle Tennessee, Augusta, Davidson and Iona. Middle Tennessee is there as the Conference USA champion.
Weiss received his first look at the course Sunday morning.
“We’re going to figure out a game plan on Sunday like we do every week at every course we play,” Weiss said. “If you’re going to have to be the lowest individual, you’re going to have to play some really good golf.”
The field will be challenging, as well as the par-72 course. Weiss, nor Grobe, had ever played the course before Sunday. There will be three 18-hole rounds played Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I’ve only finished outside the top four three times this season,” Weiss said. “I’ve gotten used to putting myself into contention and playing a lot of good golf. A lot of times, over 54 holes, I like my chances.”
Weiss is confident, as is Grobe. No one will be stunned if Weiss has the low individual score when play ends Wednesday. But if this is the end of Weiss’ college journey, Grobe said it is not the final contribution his senior star will make to Marshall golf.
“The most impressive thing is what kind of person he is and what his lasting impact on our program will be,” Grobe said. “We’re going to be a good golf team the next couple of years and that goes back to Alex. The statistical things are great – they’ll always be in the record books – but the thing you can’t measure is the example he has set for everyone in our program.”