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Nevada golf gets at-large bid, headed to third straight NCAA Regional

Sam Meek
Sam Meek and the Wolf Pack are headed back to the NCAA Regional. (Nevada athletics)

The Nevada men's golf team has become a regular at the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolf Pack earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Regional on Wednesday afternoon, securing a spot in the national tournament for the third straight time (the NCAA didn't hold Regionals last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Nevada is the No. 10 seed in the Albuquerque Regional. New Mexico (No. 5 seed) and Boise State (No. 8 seed) also is in that Regional, which is paced by Oklahoma, the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament. Defending champs, Stanford, also is in the Albuquerque Regional as the sixth seed. The NCAA Regionals are made up of six 13- or 14-team, 54-hole sites to be played May 17-19. The top-five finishers from each Regional advance to the NCAA Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz. In college golf, 81 teams make it to NCAA Regionals, including 30 automatic bids and 51 at-large berths.

“I’m excited for my guys,” Nevada head coach Jacob Wilner said in a news release. “They have worked hard and earned the right to compete in the post season. We will be ready for Albuquerque!”

The appearance will mark Nevada's 14th in an NCAA Regional, with the team advancing to nationals three times (in 1989, 1990 and 2006). Nevada narrowly missed making the NCAA Championship in 2019, falling five strokes shy of the fifth and final spot in its Regional. Men's golf's 14 national tournament appearances are the most of any sport in Wolf Pack athletics history. Men's basketball is second with nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

The Wolf Pack is coming off its best Mountain West Championship finish in school history, placing second at 19-under par. Nevada was tied with New Mexico after the 54-hole tournament before losing on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff (the Lobos were plus-2 and Wolf Pack plus-3 on the hole). New Mexico secured the MW's automatic berth into the NCAA Regional, but Nevada was still selected as an at-large team after boasting a top-60 national ranking, per GolfStat. The magic number for at-large making regionals is typically 65 and below.

Nevada is led by senior Sam Harned, who is ranked 116th in the nation, per GolfStat. Harned won co-medalist honors at The Goodwin in April. He shot a combined 7 under during Nevada's seven tournaments this season. He's joined by Sam Meek (+24 on the season), Brendan MacDougall (+30 on the season) and Trey Davis (+49 on the season) in Nevada's typical starting lineup, which is likely to also include Peyton Callens, who competed as Nevada's fifth starter at the MW Championship.

In college golf tournaments, teams start five players and take the top-four scores of the day.

Nevada at the NCAA Tournament

Here is a look at the 13 times the Wolf Pack has reached an NCAA Regional and its finish.

1988-89: 7th (finished 25th at nationals)

1989-90: T8th (finished 28th at nationals)

1990-91: 16th

1991-92: 16th

1992-93: 10th

1995-96: 13th

1997-98: 13th

2000-01: 22nd

2001-02: 16th

2005-06: T9th (finished 28th at nationals)

2006-07: 20th

2017-18: 9th

2018-19: 7th

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