Hokies Qualify for NCAA Championship
De Jonge ties for ninth individually
May 18, 2002

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - On a day that saw high winds and higher scores at the NCAA Central Regional on Saturday, Virginia Tech climbed up into a tie for eighth place and qualified for the 2002 NCAA Golf Championship. The event was held at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock, Arkansas.

"This is probably the hardest day I've ever spent in coaching," Hokie head coach Jay Hardwick said.. "With the conditions as hard as they were today, you knew it was going to be difficult to post a low score. Then it becomes a survival test."

Virginia Tech entered the day tied for 10th place, but shot a final round 302 and moved up to finish tied with TCU in eighth place with a three-day total of 885. Oklahoma State and Purdue tied for the team title at 865. Tulsa finished third, followed by Illinois and North Carolina State rounding out the top five.

Junior Brendon de Jonge (Harare, Zimbabwe) was low man for the Hokies. He shot a final round even-par 72 to finish in a tie for ninth place at one-under-par 215. De Jonge played the tournament with a broken rib suffered 16 days ago.

"I couldn't be more proud of the effort that Brendon put forward this tournament," Hardwick said. "He was obviously in a great deal of pain at the end of each round. And his presence in the lineup was key to helping our players to maintain they confidence level."

Senior Johnson Wagner (Garrison, N.Y.) tied for 26th place at 220. Senior Brian Krusoe (Northfield, Oh.) and junior Chris McKeel (Wilson, N.C.) finished in a tie for 56th place at 225. Sophomore Ryan Stinnett (Amherst, Va.) finished tied for 67th place at 227.

"We didn't change anything about how we had played the golf course all week," Hardwick said.. "The one thing I tried to do today was to keep the players up a little bit.more, because when you're playing in conditions like today that forced the scores so high, sometimes it becomes difficult for the players to see past the group they're in and realize everybody can be struggling like they are."

No team broke par on Saturday and Tech's score of 14-over-par 302 was 11th-lowest of the day. The top 10 teams from each of the three regionals advance to the NCAA Golf Championship at the OSU Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio in two weeks.