Lexington, Ky. – The Transylvania men's golf team will commence its pursuit of a 13th straight conference title this weekend in the first two rounds of the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Golf Championship at the University Club.
The Pioneers will host the first two rounds of the 2019 edition of the HCAC Men's Golf Championship at the University Club on Saturday, April 27- Sunday, April 28 at the University Club.
The championships will continue the following weekend with the third and fourth rounds, hosted by conference member Anderson University at the Anderson Country Club in Anderson, Indiana on Saturday, May 4 - Sunday, May 5.
The winner of the four-round tournament, crowned at the conclusion of the fourth and final round on May 5, will be awarded the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Golf National Championships, running May 14-17.
With a potential 13th consecutive conference title, the Pioneers men's golf program would hold the longest active streak of conference championships across any level of NCAA men's golf.
Among the legacy of past conference titles, the 2019 victory presents the most tantalizing incentive of all for the Pioneers; this year, Transylvania University will host the Division III National Championships for the first time in program history at Keene Trace Golf Club in nearby Nicholasville, Kentucky. The Pioneers stand four rounds away from playing on one of their home courses in a national championship setting for the first time ever.
In order to advance to the national championships on their home turf, the Pioneers must first replicate a conference tournament victory as they have done in each of the past 12 seasons.
"We have a very unique opportunity this season to host both the HCAC Men's Golf Championship and the NCAA National Championship," states Transylvania head coach Brian Lane. "I really like the focus that our guys have had this spring in not looking ahead. They understand that we need to put four good rounds together to reach our goal of a 13th straight HCAC Championship."
Joining Transylvania at the University Club and continuing on to Anderson next weekend are the conference's nine other members in Anderson, Bluffton, Defiance, Earlham, Franklin, Hanover, Manchester, Mount St. Joseph, and Rose-Hulman.
The Pioneers return a familiar force of golfers to the 2019 conference championships as they look to defend their title. The 12-time reigning HCAC Coach of the Year, Lane projects to field four of five golfers who competed in last year's HCAC Championships and NCAA National Championships.
"Throughout the year, we have had several guys step up during key rounds to keep our momentum going in a positive direction," added Lane. "I expect that our past NCAA experience will pay huge dividends as we enter postseason play this weekend."
Junior Spencer McKinney leads the Pioneers onto the University Club links this Saturday as the reigning individual champion of the HCAC Men's Golf Tournament. McKinney finished six-under-par one year ago, punctuating his four-round march to the title with a four-under 66 in the final round in 2018. McKinney is hitting his stride entering the HCAC Championships, coming off a first-place finish at Transylvania's dual meet with Anderson two weeks ago.
Senior Blake Young, a seasoned veteran who has appeared in three NCAA National Championships, joins the Pioneers for his final conference tournament this month. Young finished third at the 2018 HCAC Championships and 10th on the individual leaderboard at the NCAA National Championships.
Senior Jack Berger is another Pioneer ready to save his best for last as he carries a stellar season into the stretch run of 2019. After finishing fourth at the HCAC Championships last season, Berger is rounding into form again after shooting a 74 at the Anderson dual meet and carding a 72 in the second round of the challenging Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational in mid-March.
After a modest start to the 2018-19 season, senior Zach Treilobs is a Pioneer shooting arguably the best golf of his career. The senior is coming off a second-place finish at the Camp Lejeune Gold Course Championship tournament earlier this month after carding a three-round 213. Treilobs also shot a 70 in the third and final round of the season-opening Transylvania Fall Invitational, also held at the University Club in September 2018.
Junior Harrison Lane turned in a 74 at Transylvania's most recent affair, the Anderson dual meet to enter the HCAC Championships on a high note. Lane is another Pioneer who has had recent success at the University Club after finishing fifth at the Fall Invitational with a 215.
First tee times for Saturday's Round One are set for 9:00 a.m. eastern time. The last group is scheduled to hit the course no later than 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. The winner will be crowned on Sunday, May 5 at Anderson Country Club.
The Pioneers are currently one of three programs at the Division III level along with Methodist University and Illinois Wesleyan University to have appeared in the last 12 consecutive NCAA National Championships.
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