From staff reports
For the fourth time in its six seasons of NCAA Division II golf, the Clayton College & State University squad has been selected to compete in the NCAA Regional Tournament.
The Lakers will be one of 16 teams and 10 individuals at the 2003 NCAA Atlantic/Southeast Super Regional Tournament May 4-7.
The event will be hosted by Georgia College & State University at the Harbor Club in Greensboro.
Teams will battle at the par 72 course on Lake Oconee for a chance to compete in the NCAA Division II National Championships in Sunriver, Oregon on May 20-23. Each regional will have eight teams and five individuals competing.
"I've had better players and better students as a team, but this is the best group of young men I have coached in my six years," said head coach Bob Hill. "They don't quit and that is why they have earned their way into the regional tournament."
Clayton State is one of seven Peach Belt Conference schools participating in the tournament. PBC Champion USC Aiken is the top seed, followed by Armstrong Atlantic State, and Francis Marion. Presbyterian College, from the South Atlantic Conference, is the No. 4 seed, followed by GC&SU, Columbus State and Clayton State.
The Lakers enter the tournament led by their two seniors Brennan Cass and Bob Guiendon. A four-year letterwinner and a veteran of two regional tournaments, Cass will participate in his third region event, entering with a team low scoring average of 75 in 20 rounds of play.
Cass, who has never missed a tournament in four years, has won two tournaments and has six top 10 finishes in his career. He has two top 10 finishes this year, placing third in the Presbyterian Intercollegiate and 10th in the PBC Championships.
Guiendon, a transfer from Life University, was one of the team's steadiest players down the stretch and helped lead the Lakers to the region competition. Guiendon finished with the team's second lowest scoring average of 76 and has shot a 75 or better in his last seven rounds of play.
Junior Jess Shirley also closed the season strong and has a 77 scoring average on the season. He fired a 5-under par 67, a career best and the third best round in Clayton State history at the Richard Rendleman Invitational, tying for first place in the 36-hold event.
In addition, the Lakers will have two freshmen making the trip as Jimmy Beebe and Jason Armour will compete in their first regional tournament.
Beebe finished the season with a 77 scoring average after opening the season with a bang. He shot a 3-under par 141 at the Johnny Palmer/Old North State tournament in the season-opener, which was Clayton State's third best 36-hole tournament score.
Armour played in eight-of-nine tournaments for the Lakers with his best round, a two-over par 74, coming at the Pfeiffer Intercollegiate and at the Peach Belt Conference Championships.
Clayton State last competed in the regional tournament as a team in 2000, finishing 16th. The Lakers placed fourth in the 1999 NCAA South Regionals before advancing to the NCAA Division II National Championships and finishing seventh in the country.