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Prairie Dunes will host 2014 NCAA golf

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at 9:45 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, August 7, 2013, at 2:34 p.m.

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Hutchinson’s Prairie Dunes Country Club will play host to the 2014 NCAA men’s golf championships, the NCAA announced Thursday morning.

Wichita State will serve as the host institution for the event in late May or early June 2014. According to the NCAA, 27 schools bid for host rights for the golf finals and regionals in 2014 and 2015, the most competition for any of the 54 championships announced.

Kansas will serve as the final stop for men’s golf teams and individuals for the first time since 1963, when Wichita Country Club hosted the event. Thirty teams and six individuals will play 54 holes to determine an individual champion. The top eight teams advance to match play.

“Kudos to Prairie Dunes for being a great championship facility,” WSU athletic director Eric Sexton said. “This is exciting for our region.”

Prairie Dunes is a links-style course designed by Perry Maxwell and is a regular in the top 20 of national rankings by publications such as Golf Magazine and Golf Digest. It features a long history of national tournaments, including the 2006 U.S. Senior Open and the 2002 U.S. Women’s Open.

“It will be a great way for everybody to see the next generation of PGA players,” Prairie Dunes general manager Scott Nelson said.

Prairie Dunes and its members wanted to take a break from big events after 2006. When they were ready to get back in the mix, the NCAA championships appealed because of its high profile and ease of operation. It won’t attract large crowds or require tremendous amounts of marketing and fund-raising. Volunteers will be needed, but fewer than the recent USGA events. Nelson estimated last spring’s NCAA rounds attracted between 500-1,000 fans to the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

“We’ll do better with it,” he said. “In its own right, it will be supported well. We’re hopeful there’s a local team involved.”

Sexton, a member of the NCAA men’s golf committee, said the NCAA wants to hold its events at courses used by the USGA for its top tournaments.

“It just makes sense to strive to have the NCAA championships at that caliber of facility,” Sexton said.

WSU will hold an NCAA championship for the first time since the 1981 NCAA cross country meet.

Check Paul Suellentrop’s Shocker blog at blogs.kansas.com/shockwaves. Reach him at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com.

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