No. 1-ranked Rowe set to tee off for national title
After winning four of eight events this season, University of Victoria Vikes men’s golfer Lawren Rowe enters next week’s NAIA national golf championship ranked No. 1 in the NAIA individual rankings. Rowe’s 2017 qualification was a guarantee thanks to his third-place finish at the 2016 NAIA national championship and there is no doubt he will be a top contender for this year’s individual title. Third year Rowe finished the 2017 A.I.I. Regional Championship tied for second place and was named to the All-A.I.I. team.
ABOUT THE EVENT
The tournament will be held at TPC Deere Run in Moline, Illinois from May 16-19, 2017. It is the 66th NAIA Men’s Golf National Championship and it will be a grueling four rounds over four days for a field of 156 golfers. Twenty-one teams qualified with automatic berths through conference, independent or unaffiliated group tournaments, while eight at-large berths and eleven individual qualifier berths were also awarded.
“With nationals being the strongest event of our season, I know that there are numerous players in the field that can win,” described Rowe. “The strength of the field simply puts a greater emphasis on focusing on my own game and not worry about how others are playing.”
SCOUTING THE COURSE
TPC Deere Run is an award-winning, championship golf course that has hosted PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic since 2000 and was featured as one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses by Golf Digest. The four-round event will include 72 holes per round and the field will be cut to the top 17 teams and 40 individuals after 54 holes.
“Being a four-round event means that it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Vikes head coach Justin Clews. “TPC Deere Run is a challenging course but I know Lawren loves this track and will enjoy every moment.”
On Lawren’s performance:
“Lawren had a breakout year to say the least. When you are coming in a field of more than 60 players at every event and win half of those events, that’s pretty special. The scary thing is, Lawren feels he still has better golf in him moving forward.”
On coaching Lawren at the event:
“Lawren and I continue to discuss strategies for next week and essentially the plan is for me to caddy him, minus carrying the bag! I will be by him for every hole of the championship and will be his second set of eyes if he wants my opinion on a shot or putt. I won’t talk a lot to him unless he asks me for advice. He’s pretty independent that way but it also yields successful results.”
PLAYER’S TAKE (LAWREN ROWE)
On his 2016-17 success so far:
“I like to think that most of my success this season can be attributed to a more productive work ethic. My practice schedule is much more rigorous and focused, and I feel that this will only help my chances at Nationals this coming week.”