APSU Sports Information
Auburn, AL – Marco Iten will begin his quest for an NCAA Regional Championship and NCAA Championship berth this Thursday-Saturday when he participates in the Auburn Regional at the Auburn University Club.
Fourteen teams, including five Golfstat Top 25-ranked teams (No. 1 Alabama, No. 12 Virginia Tech, No. 17 Texas, No. 22 New Mexico and No. 25 Auburn)—will be vying for five spots in the NCAA Golf Championships as regional action begins Thursday.
The top individual not a member of the Top 5 qualifying teams also will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 23rd-28th, at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Wichita, Kansas.
Iten plans on that being him. He is one of five individuals who also are in the field. In fact, he finished ahead of three of those individuals—Blake Morris (Ole Miss), JD Tomlinson (Florida) and Jared Bettcher (Troy)—in claiming the Old Waverly Intercollegiate. Iten will tee off 9:50am Thursday (No. 1) and Friday (No. 10).
“With Marco’s ability to figure out how to win golf tournament this spring—he has won three of the last five tournaments—that is a huge advantage for him coming in here,” APSU coach Kirk Kayden said. “He has the mindset he can advance and win this tournament. That is just the way you have to start the event.
“He has gotten so much better in his career. He can hit the ball both ways. When he first came here as a freshman he was just taking a hook and it got him into a lot of trouble. Now he has figured out how to hit the ball left to right, which when you hit the ball left to right as a right-handed player it keeps you out of trouble. It allows you to better control your tee shots, which he has been able to do. As a freshman he struggled keeping the ball in the fairway off the tee and now he is in the fairway most of the time.”
This will the third straight year Austin Peay has had at least an individual playing in the NCAA Regional. Two years ago Anthony Bradley played as an individual at the Western Kentucky while the Govs finished seventh at the Tempe Regional a year ago. It also will be the fourth time APSU coach Kirk Kayden has coached an individual in an NCAA event—he coached Grant Leaver (2008) in the Chattanooga Regional, Bradley, and Dustin Korte last spring at the NCAA Championships in Alpharetta, GA.
“There is a little more coaching you can do, being a little more like a caddie almost where you can read some putts if needs it, help him with club selection, check the wind for him—be a second set of eyes and give him a different opinion on things. Marco over the years has liked that. Whatever he needs me to help with I certainly will help him with whatever he feels comfortable with.”
Founded in 1999, the Auburn University Club is the official home of the Auburn golf teams. The 18-hole, 7,254 yard championship golf course is situated on 225 acres of rolling hills and woodlands. Designed by Bill Bergin in 1999, the course surrounds the 25-acre Yarbrough Lake and is partly bordered by Saugahatchee Creek. The course features magnificent trees, wetlands, creek and streaks. Natural water features are prominent on the course.
“The golf course is going to fit him,” Kayden said. “It is tough through the trees and you have to be very strategic around the place and he is a very strategic player, placing the ball in certain places.”