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Trojans’ first step starting in Florida

by Mitchell Gladstone | May 5, 2022 at 2:01 a.m.

As a native Arizonan, University of Arkansas-Little Rock men's golf Coach Jake Harrington knows Grayhawk Golf Club well.

His Trojans got a taste of the famed course last May when they reached the NCAA national championships for the first time in program history.

Wednesday afternoon, they learned their path back to Scottsdale, Ariz.

UALR will be the No. 8 seed in the Palm Beach Gardens Regional when they take on PGA National in south Florida on May 16-18. It will mark the fourth time the Trojans have reached an NCAA regional -- they did so in 2000, 2001 and 2021 when they emerged from the Stillwater Regional, topping the likes of Auburn and Baylor.

"There's no easy ride at this point," Harrington said after learning of his team's destination at a watch party inside the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock. "To go down there against those Florida schools, that's going to be a challenge. But it's a challenge we're ready to accept and we're ready to go shock them."

Among the teams UALR will compete against are No. 1 seed Vanderbilt and second-seeded Florida, who faced off April 23 in the SEC championship match.

Notre Dame, Florida State and Purdue round out the top five seeds, with No. 7 South Florida also staying close to home.

There was a sense of familiarity as the Trojans sat patiently, all eleven in their black team polos.

But there was also an eagerness to play again in the NCAA Tournament after finishing last among 30 teams at Grayhawk a year ago.

The Trojans have hung onto that feeling since, and redeeming themselves by topping Georgia Southern for the Sun Belt Conference title last week was the first step.

Next up? 7,000-plus yards of a course that's hosted the PGA Tour's Honda Classic since 2007.

"Looking back, [last year] was a great experience and obviously, everyone's glad that we made it that far," Sun Belt Golfer of the Year Anton Albers said. "[But] we've got to make up for what happened last year and it makes you want to win even more."

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