Crimson golf captain Alex Vik thought the season had ended for him after the Easterns, but then the NCAA selection committee decided he deserved a shot at playing in the granddaddy of collegiate golf tournaments. Vik will tee off with 185 other contestants from 29 schools this Wednesday in his third NCAA tournament in as many years. The four-day 72-hole event is being held at the Colgate golf course in Hamilton. N.Y.
Vik finished ninth in the NCAA New England area qualifying tournament, played at the Pleasant Valley Country Club earlier in the season. Only the tourney medalist and runner-up qualify for the NCAA automatically, so it looked like Yale's Peter Tervainen and Holy Cross's Fred Radcliffe had beaten Vik out--at least until the selection committee decided he merited an invitation.
Providence will represent New England as a team but should prove little competition for defending champion Oklahoma State. The Sooners boast first-team All-Americans Jaime Gonzalez, Lindy Miller, and Tom Jones. Trailing Oklahoma State in the pretourney ranking are powerhouses Brigham Young, Georgia, Houston and Arizona State.
USC's Scott Simpson is expected to retain his national individual championship but Barton Goodwin of Rice and Jeff Sanders of Oregon (who finished second and third last year when the tournament was held in Albequerque, N.M.) will also be returning.
The Colgate course is the brainchild of Robert Trent Jones, the dean of American golf architects. Jones attended Colgate and drew up plans for a course as an undergraduate. The plans lay in a drawer for 30 years before an eighteen was actually constructed about a decade ago.
Jones, who is already a member of the "Colgate Hall of Fame," will be honored at the ceremonies before play starts.
The course, which once included 13 water holes, is being remodeled for the occasion at an estimated cost of $10,000 per hole. It is the first time in ten years that a course in the East has been picked to host the NCAA tournament, and the first time the event has been played in New York state in 44 years.
Before honing in on any NCAA laurels, Vik will participate in the prestigious East-West tournament at Colgate tomorrow followed by the long driving contest in the afternoon.