05/02/05 — NCAA wait over for MOC golfers

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NCAA wait over for MOC golfers

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on May 2, 2005 2:03 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- For Mount Olive College senior Eric Royster, his collegiate golfing career will be extended by at least 54 holes. For Trojans freshman golfer Mikael Moberg, his trip back home to Sweden will be delayed by at least a week.

Royster and Moberg are among 10 golfers to earn individual bids to the Atlantic/Southeast Super Regional of the 2005 NCAA Division II men's golf championship, which got underway this morning at Bull Creek Golf Course in Columbus, Ga.

The start of the first round of the three-round tournament was delayed three hours due to heavy rain in Columbus over the weekend.

Royster, a senior from Youngsville, earned All-Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference honorable mention, recording a stroke average of 76.9 per 18 holes during the spring.

This year marks Royster's first trip to the regionals and the first NCAA Division II postseason appearance since 2002 for any Mount Olive golfer.

"I've been waiting for this for a long time," said Royster. "I feel like I've improved each year and this is a nice reward."

"I'm very proud of Eric," said Trojans men's golf coach Chip Spiron. "He's worked hard all year and it's fitting that he gets to finish his career in NCAA competition."

Royster earned a pair of top-five finishes during the spring, tying for fourth out of 79 golfers at the St. Andrews Invitational and placing fifth out of 35 golfers (college division) at the Upstate College Classic. He shot a season-best 70 in the first round of the St. Andrews Invitational.

Moberg, a freshman from Gaule, Sweden, finished second out of 50 golfers at the Don Scalf Invitational with a 73-72--145. He also tied for 10th (79 golfers) at the St. Andrews Invitational; and narrowly missed a top 10 finish at the Upstate College Classic (college division), finishing 11th out of 35 golfers.

"I'm excited to play in the regional," said Moberg. "I feel like my game has developed throughout the year."

His coach is pretty excited, too.

"When recruiting Mick, I felt like he could be a player who can help move our program forward," said Spiron. "And he proved that this year by making it to regionals as a freshman."

As a team, Royster and Moberg helped Mount Olive record two second-place finishes and one third-place finish during the spring. Mount Olive climbed as high as fifth at this year's Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's golf championship before finishing in a tie with St. Andrews for seventh.

Seven CVAC teams will compete in the team competition at the super regional, with St. Andrews having edged out Mount Olive for the final spot among the eight Atlantic Region teams. Five of the 16 teams at the Atlantic/Southeast Super Regional will advance to the national finals - the top Atlantic Region team, the top Southeast Region team and three at-large teams.

The top individual finisher among the 10 individual competitors or on a team that does not advance will also move on to the national finals May 17-20 at Savannah, Ga.

Despite participating in their first-ever NCAA postseason competition, Royster says he and Moberg are both relaxed going into the tournament.