May 29, 2009

NC State's Matt Hill Wins NCAA Tourney

When you think of powerhouses in college golf, you probably never think of NC State University, and you probably shouldn't. Yet. The likes of Oklahoma State, Houston, Stanford and others are the real royalty for the moment, but the Wolfpack is making strides, the largest of which came yesterday when sophomore Matt Hill won the individual NCAA Title with three consecutive 69's at the 112th NCAA Championships at Inverness.

NC State, if you don't know, is the largest university in the state of North Carolina, and sits about twenty minutes from its more well-known (nationally anyway) sister institution, UNC-Chapel Hill. That, and it is equally close to Duke University, and together the three of them are the cornerstones of the 1.2 million resident Research Triangle in the heart of the state. State is a leading land-grant research instution, granting degrees ranging from the engineering disciplines to turf management, teaching, and many others.

The PGA's Karl Petterson and Tim Clark are Wolfpack alumni, and many here are hopeful that Hill will join them on the Tour, and have as much or more success than the two of them.

Also, NCSU alum Bri Vega won the Big Break 7 on Golf Channel some time back and is working her way up the women's pro golfing ranks.

The best news for NC State golf may not be Hill's win, however. In just a few weeks, it will finally debut its own golf course, the Lonnie Poole Course, set on the edge of its new Centennial Campus and a stone's throw from downtown Raleigh. The Arnold Palmer design promises to be very challenging for all levels of golfer, but will give NC State its own home course for the first time since the 1930's when a Donald Ross course adjacent to campus was lost to the Great Depression. When Palmer Design was announced as the course architect and builder, Arnold Palmer told head coach Richard Sykes “Richard, you are going to have the best golf course in the ACC.” Considering that there are many fine college courses in the golf-rich ACC (Wake Forest, Clemson, UNC, Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech) that's no small boast. And from the looks of the place as it grows in and prepares to open (it could be played now) Palmer may well have told it like it is. The Poole course will be very special indeed.

In short, this is a college program that is growing, and is now making waves at the national level. Expect more good things to come from NC State in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, Charles.

    Arnie is a piece of work. His love for his Alma Mater, Wake Forest, is legendary. His grandson, Sam Saunders, attends Clemson and his granddaughter Katie went to Florida. Now he is designing the best course in the ACC for NC State. Some divided loyalties there..

    Maybe Jim Valvano will come down at night and play a few holes and 'never give up'.


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