FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – If their final exams weren’t
tough enough, there will be another stern test awaiting
Fayetteville State’s golfers next week.
The 26-time CIAA Champions were officially invited to the NCAA Division-II Atlantic/East Super Regional after claiming the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association title for the 11th time in the last 15 years at the CIAA Tournament on April 19 at Fort Lee, Va.
The Broncos will compete among 20 teams beginning on Monday, May 6, at the 6,984-yard East Course at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa. The top five teams will advance to the national championship, which will be played from May 15-19 at Cardinal Club Golf Course in Louisville, Ky.
Fayetteville State, which will play in its sixth regional, last reached regional play in 2009 when the Broncos advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a runner-up finish. It was the first time in 35 years an HBCU qualified for the national tournament.
And only the best will advance again this year.
“The (East Course) is very challenging,” says Fayetteville State golf coach Raymond McDougal. “A lot of the holes have demanding tee shots in order to execute the approach shot to the greens. It’s relatively long, and the greens have a lot of slope to them.
“It’s a course that can jump up and grab you at any time.”
The East Course is about 500 yards longer than any course Fayetteville State has played in competition this season, and with more than 100 bunkers and several elevated and undulating greens, it is a severe test of the game. The East Course has hosted several PGA tournaments, and most recently hosted the Nationwide Tour’s Reese’s Cup Classic from 1997-2004, an event on golf’s top developmental tour.
“The East Course is really the hardest challenge we have,” says Simon Andres, the head golf pro of the East Course at the Hershey Country Club complex. “The biggest thing we hear from people who have played the East Course for the first time is how tough it is. They love the challenge of it.”
Designed by George Fazio in 1969, the East Course was constructed to host marquee tournaments.
“The East Course was built for championships, so it is challenging,” says Ned Graff, the director of golf at Hershey Country Club. “There are a lot of uphill shots, and it’s a longer golf course.”
“It was one of the toughest stops for the professionals (when the East Course hosted the Nationwide Tour),” says Andres. “The intent of the golf course was to host a professional event. You feel like you’re on a professional tour stop when you’re on the East Course at Hershey Country Club.”
No stretch may be more difficult that the East Course’s last four holes. The 15th hole is the longest par 4 at 467 yards before a tough par 3 over water on 16. The last two holes are demanding par 4s that will each play longer than 445 yards.
“The finishing holes of the East Course are probably the four toughest holes we have (at Hershey Country Club),” Andres says.
Fayetteville State will begin its play with noon tee times on Monday, and will come back with 7:30 a.m. tee times for the second round on Tuesday. For the third and final round of the 54-hole regional tournament on Wednesday, tee times will reflect team scores after the first two rounds.
The Broncos, who will turn right around and play in the PGA National Minority Championship in Florida the weekend following the regional – Fayetteville State has won six Minority titles – dominated the CIAA this season, winning both the Southern and Northern Division Tournaments before leading wire-to-wire to capture the league championship, the 16th under the legendary McDougal.