Pack not satisfied with qualifying for nationals |

Pack not satisfied with qualifying for nationals

NCAA Championship golf and Nevada have never been synonymous.

But the 2006 Wolf Pack golf team is working on changing that trend. The Pack will compete in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship for the first time since 1990 when play begins Wednesday at Crosswater Golf Club at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore.

Nevada qualified for nationals by placing ninth out of 27 teams at the NCAA Western Regionals May 18-20 in Tucson, Ariz.

With one of the hottest players in the country and a senior-laden squad, the Pack is confident about their chances in Oregon.

“Going into nationals is going to be the same thing as going into regionals. Nobody is gonna expect us to play well and we just feed off of that,” said Casey Watabu.

Senior teammate John Cassidy senses something special at play.

“We’re all playing well,” Cassidy said. “The toughest part was just making it there. Now it’s like the Sweet 16 in basketball. Anybody can go out and win it.”

Watabu shared medalist honors at regionals with a three-round total of 13-under-par 203. His last two rounds of competitive golf are 64 and 66. The 64 was carded during the final round of regionals and Watabu fired the 66 to win U.S. Open Local Qualifying last week at the Genoa Lakes Golf Club in Genoa.

“It’s not just one round here, one round there,” Watabu said. “I’ve started to believe in myself. I’m making those steps up to where I gotta be at that top level.”

In their two previous appearances at nationals, the Pack finished 28th in 1990 and 25th in 1989.

With seniors Watabu, Cassidy and Adam Hagen – the team’s top scorer at 71.5 – leading the way, the Pack finally broke that infamous national championship drought. Watabu is also averaging better than par at 71.9 strokes per round and Cassidy isn’t far behind at 72.7.

“It’s a long time coming and it’s great our senior year that me, Adam and Casey all get to go to the national championships,” Cassidy said.

The 30-team tournament will be trimmed in half after the 54-hole mark on Friday. The top six individuals not on the top 15 teams will also make the cut for one final round on Saturday.

Fans can follow the tournament at

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