Nate McCoy Earns Spot At NCAA Championships
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - Iowa State's Nate McCoy earned his Canadian Tour card last week, but his professional career will have to be put on hold. The senior from West Des Moines fired a final-round 71 this afternoon at the NCAA Bowling Green Regional, finishing seventh at 212 (73-68-71) and earning an individual spot at the 2012 NCAA Championships, May 29-June 3 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
McCoy captured the regional's lone individual qualifying berth by outlasting Arkansas' Ethan Tracy, who was one shot back at 213. McCoy, who started on No. 10, bogeyed No. 8, but finished with a birdie on the last hole (No. 9). Tracy was a stroke back with two holes to go and the Razorback missed a 10-footer on 18 which would have forced a playoff.
McCoy now becomes the first Cyclone to play in the NCAA Championships as an individual since the Regional format was implemented in 1989.
"I think back on my freshman year and I set a goal to someday play in the NCAA Championships," McCoy said. "It came down to my last year on my last hole."
Hole No. 9 had given the Cyclones fits all week. A solid tee shot is necessary to successfully navigate the 453-yard, monster par-4.
"Once I got on the tee, I knew I had to hit the fairway," McCoy said. "I hit a really good tee shot. I had about 177 left and hit a 7-iron to about 5-6 feet. I didn't know where I stood but I knew I needed a birdie. It was a little left-to-right putt and I got it to go in."
Iowa State as a team tied for ninth, firing rounds of 305-288-293 for an 886 total. The top-five teams advanced to the NCAA Championships and the Cyclones were 10 shots back of the final team qualifier Memphis at 876.
Freshman Sam Daley tied for 30th at 223 after carding a 75 this afternoon. Borja Virto tied for 35th, a shot back of Daley at 224 behind a 74 this afternoon.
Chattanooga won the team title at 859.
McCoy will now prepare for the NCAA Championships on one of the most legendary courses in the country. Riviera has hosted two PGA Championships (1983, 1995) and one United States Open (1948).
The senior will continue one of the greatest seasons a Cyclone has ever produced on the links. An All-Big 12 First-Team pick, McCoy, who is on pace to break the school's single-season scoring mark, produced eight top-10 performances and won two tournaments this season.
Iowa State head coach Andrew Tank tried to put McCoy's accomplishment in perspective.
"It is very difficult to make the NCAA Championships as an individual," Tank said. "There are 14 really good teams here, so when you come to a tournament like this in the postseason, the level of competition is extremely high. Nate and I both would like to have our team there, but he is going to go down there and be an outstanding representative of Iowa State University."
"He was hitting fairways and greens on his last nine holes," Tank added. "I think he just missed one green on the back nine. He was giving himself opportunities all day. He made a nice putt on six for birdie and he played the last hole perfect."
McCoy can't wait to get to L.A.
"I have watched the Northern Trust Open (the PGA Tour event at Riviera) a couple of times," McCoy said. "It is going to be a great test to play on a course like that. It is going to be a fun week and I am really excited."
1. Chattanooga 294-281-284=859
2. Texas A&M 295-278-287=860
3. UCLA 284-287-292=863
4. Virginia Tech 297-286-291=874
5. Memphis 295-287-294=876
6. Arkansas 302-292-285=879
7. North Texas 295-299-286=880
8. Northwestern 301-286-294=881
9. Iowa State 305-288-293=886
Colorado State 294-293-299=886
11. Clemson 295-295-297=887
12. Jacksonville State 308-305-296=909
13. Pennsylvania 313-304-309=926
14. Alabama State 319-322-329=970
Iowa State Scores
7. Nate McCoy 73-68-71=212
T30. Sam Daley 78-70-75=223
T35. Borja Virto 78-72-74=224
T46. Scott Fernandez 76-78-73=227
T57. Duncan Croudis 79-79-75=233
1. Stephan Jaeger, Chattanooga 70-67-66=203
2. Pedro Figueiredo, UCLA 68-69-70=207