Mark Lawrence Jr. earns NCAA men's golf bid

Virginia Tech men’s golfer Mark Lawrence Jr. has been selected to compete in the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship’s Raleigh Regional on May 14-16, as announced Wednesday evening by the NCAA.

Lawrence is one of 45 individuals selected for six NCAA regional sites. There are 81 teams competing for the team title this season. Lawrence is one of five individuals in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Lawrence, a junior from Richmond, Virginia, leads the Hokies in stroke average at 71.20 and “Crunch Time” average at 69.90. Lawrence had one top five, three additional top 10 and four additional top 20 finishes this season. His season-best finish was fifth place at the season-opening Gopher Invitational in Independence, Minnesota in September. Last summer, Lawrence won the 2017 Virginia State Amateur Championship and was a semifinalist in the U.S. Amateur Championship.

“Receiving an individual bid to the NCAA Regional is a just reward for Mark’s outstanding season,” head men’s golf coach Jay Hardwick said. “He has been our most valuable player with four Top 10 and 4 Top 20 finishes, while leading our team in both scoring and final round stroke average. Mark has been a very consistent performer and it is exciting that he will continue to represent his teammates and Virginia Tech at the highest level.”

The Raleigh Regional will be played May 14-16 at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Arnold Palmer-designed course is a par 72, 7,358-yard layout. Lawrence finished tied for 16th on this course in April 2017 in the Wolfpack Spring Open.

This is the second consecutive NCAA regional appearance for Lawrence, as he finished 12th at the West Lafayette Regional last year. It marks the third consecutive season that the Hokies have had at least one player selected to compete in the regionals. Last season, Lawrence and Sarit Suwannarut competed at West Lafayette and in 2016, Joey Lane competed in the Franklin Regional, outside of Nashville, Tennessee.

The top five teams and the top individual not on an advancing team will qualify for the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship finals. The finals this season will be played May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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