UABSports.com Blog :: 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships

Hello Blazer fans and welcome to the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championship blog. My name is Aaron Jordan and I am the associate director of media relations at UAB. I am with the men's golf team at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., site of the 2008 championships. I will provide a live blog throughout the four-day event, which will hopefully give insight about how the team is performing throughout each round. While fans can follow livestats by going to the Purdue athletic website, purduesports.com (click here), this blog will allow all of you to get a different and more in depth perspective on how the team is playing. Check back periodically each day for updated entries and photographs throughout the event.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.


May 28-31, 2008 :: Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex • West Lafayette, IN

NCAA Men's Golf
NCAA Men's Golf
Date: May 27, 2008
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
The Night Before ...

Well, it is less than 24 hours before the Blazers tee off their championship round and I must say, the guys seem pretty relaxed (we tee off at 12:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday afternoon). We just got back from Applebees and enjoyed a nice team meal where there was a lot of laughing and joking around. All the guys, along with coach Alan Kaufman, were talking about how tough the course played, but were equally impressed with the course condition and layout. Zach Sucher even said it was probably one of the nicest courses he has ever played. I just arrived in town less than three hours ago, but the team has been here since Sunday night and played a practice round on both Monday and Tuesday. The guys were mentioning that there are three par-5 holes of 600-yards or longer, and several very long par 4 holes as well. They also said the rough is very deep (up to five inches deep along some fairways) and the key will be keeping the ball straight and staying out of trouble. The team could not even complete Tuesday's practice round because of inclement weather. As I type this, it is raining outside and the temperature is currently 45 degrees. Ouch! However, it is supposed to be a little nicer on Wednesday's opening round, as temperatures should reach into the high 60s and there is little chance of rain. I think everyone is looking forward to getting started and I know they are all excited and proud to be representing the UAB Blazers up here. I am going to try and submit a blog as they guys are teeing off Wednesday afternoon, so until then, go Blazers!

2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships Round One

Date: May 28, 2008
Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
At The Course And Waiting...

The 2007-08 UAB men's golf team arrived Wednesday in preparation for the NCAA opening round
The 2007-08 UAB men's golf team arrived Wednesday in preparation for the NCAA opening round
So, we are at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Course ready to get UAB's third-ever NCAA Championship going. A few of the guys are currently at the driving range warming up and the rest are on the putting green working on their short game. Most of the guys are very anxious to get started, but they are going to have to wait a little longer. Just after we arrived at the course (around 11:30 a.m. ET), we found out there is a 30 minute delay, which pushes our tee time back to 1:30 p.m. ET instead of 1 p.m. ET. The guys actually don't mind too much because they are able to get some extra practice time in. The picture next to this entry was taken of the guys this morning (Wednesday) just as we arrived at the course. Speaking of the course, it is in GREAT condition. Scores have been running real high to no one's surprise. It is a beautiful, yet challenging course. The 18th green has flags on poles from every school which is competing at this year's championships. It looks really neat and I will have to take a picture of it to show all of you. Before I take off, just a quick weather update. It is sunny without a cloud in the sky and temperatures are in the mid 60s. It is a little windy today (I would say 10-15 mph winds) so that may affect play a little bit. I will be back with a blog entry as soon as we tee off, so until then, GO BLAZERS!

Date: May 28, 2008
Time: 2:05 p.m. ET
And They're Off!...

Fearsome threesome walking off first tee box after hitting their first drive at the NCAA Championships
Fearsome threesome walking off first tee box after hitting their first drive at the NCAA Championships.
Let the fun begin! Our Blazers are all on the golf course after teeing off on hole No. 10. It is not an easy hole to open with. The hole is a 607-yard par 5 dog-leg right opening hole and the fairway is surrounded by deep rough and bunkers. Mike Oimoen and Kyle Sapp each hit their ball into the deep rough; Mike went on the left and Kyle went right. Adam West, Brad Smith and Zach Sucher all hit the ball right down the middle of the fairway. Speaking of Zach, I have placed a picture next to this post of his threesome. Talk about a fearsome threesome! Zach (in the black polo) enters the NCAA nationals ranked 16th in the latest national rankings. He is playing along side Alabama's Michael Thompson (in red and white striped polo), who is ranked second and competed in this year's Masters. Also in the group (in a blue polo) is UCLA's Kevin Chappell, ranked fourth in the country. Talk about a fun group to watch! UAB is the No. 8 seed in this year's tournament and are paired up with second-seeded Alabama and seventh-seeded UCLA during the first two rounds. So not only will Zach's group be fun to watch, but all five groups should give us some good highlights. I am going back out on the course and will give another update shortly. Go Blazers!

Date: May 28, 2008
Time: 3:05 p.m. ET
Early Leaders...

Sophomore Adam West walks towards his ball on the 18th hole
Sophomore Adam West walks towards his ball on the 18th hole.
OK...so I know it's VERY early, but it is still pretty cool to note. UAB is leading the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championship! Yes, we are only through four holes, but it is pretty neat to see. Actually, it is probably the best start we could have possibly wanted. Sophomore Adam West (aka Batman) is two-under par through four holes. He is going to be a key cog in how UAB finishes this thing. Senior Brad Smith and junior Zach Sucher are each one-under par. However, senior Kyle Sapp has struggled a bit with a five-over par through three holes, while junior Mike Oimoen is at two-over par through three holes. Let's hope we can keep this pace up!!

Date: May 28, 2008
Time: 4:45 p.m. ET
Making The Turn...

UAB's school flag flies among the 30 teams competing for the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championship
UAB's school flag flies among the 30 teams competing for the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championship.
We are nearly midway through our round and the course has been playing REALLY tough. I posted a picture of the 18th hole with this entry, just so you all could get an idea of what the course looks like. Notice the deep rough running along the fairway. The picture is of Adam West who is walking up to the 18th green. He has played remarkable, shooting a one-under par on the back nine. Many consider the back nine tougher than the front nine, so hopefully our scores will be better. As I write this, Adam is tied for second overall with a two-under par, while Brad Smith and Zach Sucher are both at two over. As a team, UAB is tied for 10th overall at 8-over par. Considering the best team score of the morning round was 13-over par, we are in pretty good shape.
I also posted a picture of the 18th green with the flags from each school. In the first picture, you can see where the flags are situated on the 18th hole just behind the green. The second picture is a close up of UAB's flag. Just thought it was pretty cool and maybe you would get a kick out of it. I am going back out to the course to watch Brad and Zach come up the 18th hole and hopefully I will come back with good news. Until then...go Blazers!

Date: May 28, 2008
Time: 6:45 p.m. ET
Almost there...

As round one winds down, I think you will recognize a general theme when looking at all the scores. This is one heckuva tough golf course!! It's looking as if there isn't a team who will shoot below 10-over par. The team was doing real well until holes No. 4 and 5. The fourth hole is another 600-yard-plus par five and the fifth hole is, as termed by coach Kaufman, one of the toughest par three holes you will find anywhere. Our guys played those holes seven over par! Ouch! We have had a couple of birdies since then, so here's to a strong finish. The good news is, there is still a lot of golf left to be played and if there is one thing you can count on, it is the fact that our guys will fight, scrap and claw anyway they can. They are leaving it all on the golf course and that is all you can ask. As I type this, we are right at the "cutline" (top-15 through three rounds advance to championship day on Saturday), so we are in good shape. Just need to finish strong!

Date: May 28, 2008
Time: 9:45 p.m. ET
One Day Down, Three To Go...

Brad Smith and Alan Kaufman study a tricky pitch shot on the 18th green. Brad went on to make a great up-and-down par save on the 18th hole.
Brad Smith and Alan Kaufman study a tricky pitch shot on the 18th green. Brad went on to make a great up-and-down par save on the 18th hole.
Well, round one didn't finish as well as we had hoped. Adam West, who played a great on Wednesday, double-bogeyed the ninth hole and we dropped to a tie for 17th overall. Despite our struggles out there today, there were certainly some bright spots. Mainly, the play of Adam, who was terrific in his first-ever NCAA championship appearance. He will enter the second round tied for 10th overall after leading the team with a two-over par 74. I am sure his family, who drove nearly 12 hours all the way from Montgomery, Ala. to watch him play, was very proud. I will have more on the West family, as well as all the other families who made the trip in my first blog tomorrow morning. Zach Sucher shot a seven-over 79 on the day, which tied a season-high 18-hole mark. Considering UAB is only five shots back of ninth place despite this has got to make coach Kaufman sleep a little easier. Furthermore, Brad Smith was two-under par over his last three holes with birdies on the seventh and eighth hole, along with a terrific par on the 481-yard par four ninth hole. Hopefully he can use that momentum as we begin the second round on Thursday. The Blazers tee of at 7:47 a.m. ET (6:47 a.m. CT), so it is time for me, as well as the rest of the team, to get some rest! Look forward to having a great day tomorrow!

Day One Photo Gallery 

2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships Round Two

Date: May 29, 2008
Time: 8:30 a.m. ET
Day Two Has Started...

Kyle Sapp tees off on his opening holde in round two.
Kyle Sapp tees off on his opening holde in round two.
We are off and running on day two of the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships and I must say, it is a much better start to the day weather-wise. Temperatures at our tee time were hovering around 60 degrees and there is very little wind. Hopefully that is a formula for low scores. Coach Alan Kaufman ordered brand new shirts for the team, which you can see in the picture I have posted to the right of Kyle Sapp teeing off on hole no. 1. Good-looking shirts which will hopefully give us some good karma. I am off to watch our guys on the front nine, so I will post another blog as we are making the turn.

Date: May 29, 2008
Time: 8:45 a.m. ET
Thank You Parents, Friends And Family...

UAB friends and family watch the Blazers close out the opening round.
UAB friends and family watch the Blazers close out the opening round.
Before I got off to start watching our guys on the golf course, I wanted to recognize all the players' parents, friends and family who made the journey to West Lafayette, Ind. I took a picture of everyone as they watched the Blazers come up the 18th green, which is to the right of this post. Some of them have driven a VERY long way to watch their loved one compete at this year's NCAAs. So far, the longest drive I have heard is 13 hours by Zach Sucher's family who drove all the way from Mobile, Ala. Zach's aunt also drove 13 hours from Hilton Head, S.C. Adam West's parents and older brother drove 10 hours from Montgomery. Mike Oimoen's father drove nine hours from Iowa. Kyle Sapp's family flew up from Birmingham on Tuesday. And on and on I could go. That is terrific dedication and support and I know the guys are happy to see and hear Blazer fans in the crowd!

Date: May 29, 2008
Time: 10:45 a.m. ET
Making The Turn...

So far so good! We are in much better shape through Thursday's opening nine holes than we were following Wednesday's first nine. We have two guys who made the turn already, with three to follow and the Blazers are one-over par as a team. That is terrific on this difficult golf course. The only bad thing about this round so far, is that we are not the only team doing well. A few other teams have the same score or are a stroke or two better than the Blazers in the first wave of teams on Thursday. But at the same time, we can only concern ourselves with how UAB plays and not everyone else. I will keep you all updated with hopefully more good news. Until then, go Blazers!

Date: May 29, 2008
Time: 11:00 a.m. ET
Near Hole-In-One!...

Junior Zach Sucher tees off on the 600-yard par 5, sixth hole. He would go on to record a four on the hole to mark his third consecutive birdie.
Junior Zach Sucher tees off on the 600-yard par 5, sixth hole. He would go on to record a four on the hole to mark his third consecutive birdie.
Part of the reason for UAB's good start in its second round on Thursday is the play of you-know-who. Junior Zach Sucher is starting to heat up. The nation's 16th-ranked player is showing why is he is one of the best golfers in the nation. After a bogey on the opening hole, Zach has been terrific. He recorded three consecutive birdies on holes No. 4, 5 and 6 to drop to 2-under par on the day. In fact, his tee shot on the 230-yard par 3 fifth hole hit two feet past the pin and spun backwards to within a foot of the hole. It was an unbelievable shot on a very difficult par three hole. Anyone who strings three straight birdies together on this course is doing something right. I have added a picture to the right of Zach teeing off on the 600-yard par 5 6th hole to again show all of you how tough this course is. Zach would record a four on that hole to mark his third consecutive birdie. This is going to be fun to watch!

Date: May 29, 2008
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Round Two Coming To An End...

Junior Mike Oimoen tees off on the par 3 17th hole.
Junior Mike Oimoen tees off on the par 3 17th hole.
Adam West is walking up the 18th fairway as I write this, which means the Blazers' second round is coming towards a close. All in all, it hasn't been a bad round for UAB on Thursday. The team is currently eight over par on the day. That is very much improved from the 23-over par during Wednesday's opening round. However, the bad news is only five of the 15 teams getting ready to close the second round is tied with or shot worse than UAB during Thursday's 18 holes. So we are certainly hoping for some higher scores this afternoon. Nevertheless, the Blazers played well overall today and hopefully we can take the momentum into Friday's third round. Tee times will be announced later tonight, and I will include it in my release, so keep an eye out for that. Oh yea, almost forgot the picture I included with this blog is of junior Mike Oimoen hitting his tee shot on the 206-yard par 3 17th hole. It is a difficult hole which has a steep drop off if you hit it right and water on the left. Unfortunately, Mike made double bogey on this hole as he hit is tee shot off to the left side of the green. Check back later for a blog on our final results and as always, go Blazers!

Date: May 29, 2008
Time: 2:15 p.m. ET
Day Two Comes To An End...

The men's golf team enjoys lunch following a solid round of golf on Thursday. Soon after this picture was taken, the team went immediately to the practice range to get ready for Friday's third round.
The men's golf team enjoys lunch following a solid round of golf on Thursday. Soon after this picture was taken, the team went immediately to the practice range to get ready for Friday's third round.
Well, round two has come to a close and I must say the Blazers performed very well. UAB finished with a nine-over par 297 during Thursday's second round. It was a 14-stroke improvement from the 23-over par recorded during Wednesday opening round. Through two days of NCAA Championship golf, the Blazers are 32-over par as a team (608). We'll see where that puts us heading into the third round of play.
Individually, senior Brad Smith bogeyed the 18th hole, but still finished at one-under par (71) on the day. Through two days, Brad has been terrific as he currently is tied for ninth overall with a two-over par 146 (75-71). Zach Sucher also finished at one-under par on the round following his seven-over par 79 on Wednesday. He is tied for 46th overall with a six-over 150 through 36 holes. Senior Kyle Sapp played well and finished at four-over par on Thursday, despite recording a double bogey on the 18th hole.
Following their second round, the team grabbed a quick lunch in the players/coaches tent which you can see in the picture on the right. It's always fun sitting and eating with them because you can really get a feel on how tough the course played. Plus they usually always have great stories to tell about the round they just played. As soon as lunch was finished, they all went to the practice range to get ready to Friday's crucial round.
The Blazers will know their tee time for Friday's round later tonight. If they are situated among the top 15 teams, they will play in the early round. If they are among the bottom 15 teams, they will play in the late round. Hopefully, we can sneak into that early round because they are calling for some rain showers Friday afternoon. Either way, we are going to be right at the cutline (top 15 teams advance to Saturday's championship round), so we'll see what happens. As I mentioned earlier, check back with UABSPORTS.com and I will have the updated tee times for Friday.

Photo Gallery 

2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships Round Three

Date: May 30, 2008
Time: 11:15 a.m. ET
Thursday Night Dinner...

The players and their families gather for dinner Thursday night at a nearby restaurant.
The players and their families gather for dinner Thursday night at a nearby restaurant.
Before I get started with anything today (Friday), I wanted to write a quick blog entry about our dinner last night. It really impresses me the way that all the players' family and friends bond on these kind of events. I'm sure they are used to it, but for someone like me who doesn't get on the road as much with the golf team, it is really neat to see this kind of support. Alan and "Pug" Kaufman do a great job of organizing these events. Pug, Alan's wife of nearly 50, comes on almost every trip with the men's golf team and really is a big supporter of the program. She may be more nervous than Alan today!! Anyways, I thought it was pretty neat so I included pictures to the right of everyone outside of the restaurant and at the dinner table as we finished our meal. It was delicious!

Obviously, the dinner was very good!
Obviously, the dinner was very good!
Date: May 30, 2008
Time: 12:15 p.m. ET
The Real Windy City?...

UAB players practice their shots in 20 mph wind gusts prior to Friday's round.
UAB players practice their shots in 20 mph wind gusts prior to Friday's round.
So I just got back from watching our guys practice at the driving range and the wind is really gusting. I would say it is going at least 15-20 mph and the guys told me it is definitely affecting their shots. I posted a picture on the right of Kyle Sapp practicing putting before his 12:19 p.m. tee time and just look at the flags on the top of the scoreboard. That will give you an indication of what the players are dealing with this afternoon. I also posted a picture of (from R to L) Brad Smith, Adam West and Zach Sucher warming up on the driving range before their tee times today. The good news is that as I write this we are tied for ninth and coach Alan Kaufman said he wanted us to be among the top-10 when we began our round. The bad news is, the wind is picking up and they are calling for heavy rain this evening. Should make for a very interesting third round. Remember, we need to finish among the top 15 to advance to Saturday's final round, so keep an eye on us! I will be back soon to give some updates on both our play and the weather. Until then, go Blazers!!!
Senior Kyle Sapp works on his putting prior to teeing off Friday's round. (Notice the wind affecting the flag in the background!).
Senior Kyle Sapp works on his putting prior to teeing off Friday's round. (Notice the wind affecting the flag in the background!).

Date: May 30, 2008
Time: 3:50 p.m. ET
No Bad Weather Yet, Hoping To Pick It Up On The Back Nine...

The bad weather has stayed away thus far, but the wind has taken its toll on UAB today. As I type this, it looks like it will go down to the wire on whether or not the Blazers will make the cut. As a team, we are 10-over par through 10 holes today, which puts us at 42-over par for the team. I don't know if that is good or bad, but based on some of the other team's scores, it is right about average for Friday's third round. We really need to grab some birdies on the tough back nine to give us a good chance of making the top 15. Keep rooting for us and let's hope we can pull it out. It would really mean a lot to the program, and more importantly the guys on the team if we can make this cut. It is going to be a close call.

Date: May 30, 2008
Time: 4:15 p.m. ET
Lighting Halts Play At 4:15 p.m.

Kyle Sapp tees off the 17th hole from the West...
Kyle Sapp tees off the 17th hole from the West...
As I've been saying all along weather looks as if it will be a factor for the remaining part of Friday's round. At exactly 4:15 ET NCAA Officials blew the horn to stop play due to lighting strikes in the area. On the course itself the weather is still sunny, but there are clouds surrounding the area. We are currently in a holding pattern and there is no estimate to when play will start back up. Just to let everyone know we are 48 over as a team and 16 over for today's round. Mike Oimoen has a five-footer for birdie on hole 14, when play resumes, a step in the right direction for the Blazers. I will keep everybody posted as soon as we resume play.

Date: May 30, 2008
Time: 4:55 p.m. ET
Play Resumes After 40-Minute Delay

The weather that postponed play for 40 minutes have moved on and the players have returned to the course. We are preparing to finish up today's round. I will update our progress on the back nine later.

Date: May 30, 2008
Time: 5:45 p.m. ET
Weather Delay Part II...

...while Mike Oimoen tees off at the same exact time from the 18th hole facing East. Notice the clouds coming in from the West behind Kyle!
...while Mike Oimoen tees off at the same exact time from the 18th hole facing East. Notice the clouds coming in from the West behind Kyle!
And we're back with another delay! I have a hunch that this time it will last for the rest of the night. The bad thing about it is the Blazers are right on the cusp of the 15th spot. As it currently stands, the Blazers are in 19th at 50-over par with four holes left to play. However, there are still five teams currently ahead of the Blazers who are still on the course. Anything can happen in this sport. I was told by an NCAA official that if we don't play again Friday, then we will pick up where we left off the round on Saturday morning. Uh oh...tornado warning now. No way we'll finish. I have to run for cover. Before I run, just wanted to point out the two pics on the right. The top on is Kyle Sapp teeing off the 17th hole from the West, while Mike Oimoen is teeing off 18 facing east. Look at the cloud cover from the West compared to the East and you can see how dark the sky looked. Anyways, just thought that may be cool for all of you to see. I will post again once we know what's going on.

Date: May 30, 2008
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Third Round Conclusion Information...

Junior Mike Oimoen is pulled off the course by an NCAA official after hitting a terrific shot to set up a possible birdie on No. 18.
Junior Mike Oimoen is pulled off the course by an NCAA official after hitting a terrific shot to set up a possible birdie on No. 18.
With the remainder of the third round being postponed due to severe weather, the NCAA has announced the teams still on the course will conclude third-round play on Saturday morning at 7 a.m. That means the team will be at the course at 6:30 a.m. and will probably be finished by 7:30 a.m. Then we will wait to find out our fate. We could be there from anywhere to approximately one hour to all day should we make the cut. It is going to come down to the wire so we are hoping for the best.
It was a little chaotic following my last post. The entire team had to go to Mackey Arena (Purdue's basketball arena) where they stayed in the basement for nearly three hours because of a severe weather threat. I am glad to report there were no tornados but it was a little scary there for a while. Needless to say, they were tired, hungry and ready to get some rest by the time they got back to the hotel. They are in for an intense day on Saturday and hopefully it will be a long day on top of that. It is still pouring outside and we are still hearing some thunder, but it is supposed to taper off in the middle of the night. So, it is time for us to get some rest. Here's to a long day of golf tomorrow!

2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships Round Three; Day Four

Date: May 31, 2008
Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
At The Course Bright And Early...

Mike Oimoen and Adam West warm up prior to the conclusion of the third round early Saturday morning.
Mike Oimoen and Adam West warm up prior to the conclusion of the third round early Saturday morning.
We all got to the course at 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning to finish the third round, only to find out there is another delay until 8 a.m. for the greenskeepers to clean up the course. Apparently we received a lot more rain that what they were expecting, which created some serious water hazards out there. I'm sure the players were happy to hear about that when they arrived! Actually, our guys are taking it in pretty good. I have seen some golfers in vans sleeping while they wait, but our guys have been out on the practice green and driving range. I have added two pictures with this blog...the one above is a picture of Mike Oimoen getting pulled off the course by an NCAA official, while the one next to this blog is of Adam West and Mike warming up at 6:45 this morning, waiting to get the ok to go out to their balls for a shotgun start. Poor Mike has about a 50-foot putt for birdie on No. 18 which would be a BIG help to our cause. So, I am going to go out and hopefully watch us make some birdies. I will give another update once our round finishes and we have an idea of where we stand.

Date: May 31, 2008
Time: 9:30 a.m. ET
The Dream Ends...

Well, I wish I had better news, but unfortunately UAB's dream of a men's golf championship has ended. The Blazers put forth a valiant effort but it was not enough, as the Blazers finished at 59-over par throughout the three rounds. It was a great season needless to say, and this team accomplished more than any UAB golf team in program history when you consider the prograam's first-ever C-USA championship. So there is nothing to hang their heads about. At the same time, it is always sad for the season to end. I have to say that seniors Kyle Sapp and Brad Smith were terrific leaders for this team throughout the year. That have both had great careers while at UAB and will go on to make terrific ambassadors for UAB, whether it is on or off the course. We are getting ready to leave the hotel as we have a 3:50 p.m. flight out of Chicago this afternoon. We should arrive back in Birmingham around 6 p.m. local time.
I have had a great time doing this blog and getting a chance to hang out with this tight-knit team. Before I sign off, I would like to thank Alan Kaufman for his terrific job coaching these young men throughout the season. I have added one last picture to the right of this entry showing the players and families watching UAB close out the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships.
I hope all of you enjoyed reading these blogs and looking at the pictures I have posted. I hope it gave you an "inside" example of how this year's NCAA Championships were. Thanks to everyone who helped out and as always, GO BLAZERS!

UAB players, fans and families watch the Blazers close out the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships on the 18th green.
UAB players, fans and families watch the Blazers close out the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships on the 18th green.

NCAA Blog Central
Blog Central