UNLV Men’s Golf Heads to the NCAA Finals for the 19th Time
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – The UNLV Rebels are heading to the NCAA Finals once again, an occurrence that seemingly is second nature under the team during the tenure of Hall of Fame Head Coach Dwaine Knight. The Rebels finished third at the recent NCAA Region. With the top-five finish at there, the Rebels advanced to their 19th NCAA Championship tournament and second in the last three years.
“I am very proud of the way our five guys played without John (Oda), our low scoring average player for the year not being here,” UNLV head coach Dwaine Knight said. “They stepped up and played some incredible golf today from start to finish. We had birdies and eagles all the way through the entire round, not just for part of it. “Two years ago at the finals in Atlanta, we made such a great run to the Elite Eight and four of these guys were there. Today was really similar in the way we played and the guys all said they felt that way. We know what it is like to get into the hunt and we want to be able to do that at the finals. We took two trips to Florida this year in preparation if we were fortunate to make it to the finals, so we have a little experience with that type of grass. We are really looking forward to getting down there and competing.”
The Rebels were led by senior Kurt Kitayama, who shot a final-round 4-under 68 and finished sixth at 3-under 213. Kitayama had four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys during the final round.
Fellow UNLV seniors Nicholas Maruri and Carl Jonson each tied for 16th at 2-over. Maruri shot 5-under during the final round with four birdies, one eagle and one bogey, while Jonson was even par. Junior AJ McInerney finished tied for 21st at 4-over after a final-round 1-under and freshman Shintaro Ban finished tied for 43rd at 10-over after a final-round 1-over. Mountain West Freshman of the Year John Oda was unable to compete because of a wrist injury and did not make the trip.
This year marked UNLV’s 27th straight appearance in a NCAA Regional, which is the record for most consecutive appearances.