BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- WKU senior golfer Stuart Easton was literally the first player out of the field when NCAA Regional at-large selections were announced Wednesday night.
After a heartbreaking evening, Easton got a call Thursday morning that he didn’t see coming – another individual had to drop out, giving the Hilltopper veteran his first NCAA Regional berth.
The Scotland native will compete May 13-15 in the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Regional at TPC Myrtle Beach. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams advance to the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships on May 24-29 at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.
“It’s been a huge rollercoaster of emotions over the past 14 hours or so, but I’m very glad to be given the opportunity to represent WKU in regionals,” Easton said. “Last night was a tough pill to swallow because I felt my ranking was high enough to get me in, but having such good teammates made me realize that this was not the be-all, end-all.
“I’ve had an amazing four years here and am really proud to call myself a Hilltopper. Now my focus shifts to next week. The fact I will get to share the experience with Billy Tom (Sargent) makes it even better.”
Easton’s selection comes after fellow senior Billy Tom Sargent was selected Wednesday to compete in the Athens (Ga.) Regional. Sargent will be making his second straight regional appearance, making him the first Hilltopper to ever do so twice as an individual.
This is the first time in program history that two players have received at-large bids to the NCAA Regionals. WKU is 1 of 5 schools to receive multiple individual NCAA Regional bids this year.
Easton and Sargent represent just the third and fourth individual NCAA Regional appearances in Hilltopper Golf history.
“Stuart has been a huge contributor to our success this season, not only with his play but with his leadership as well,” WKU head coach Chan Metts said. “It was tough watching the selection show last night and being on the bubble like we were. We knew he was possibly the first player out, but when the phone rang this morning it was an equally great feeling. Stuart is very deserving of this opportunity and has earned it all year with his hard work and resolve he has shown. As tough as last night was to watch, it was exciting to make that phone call to him this morning and let him know he was now in regionals.
“It’s very exciting to have two Hilltoppers in regionals, and I’m excited about the opportunity we now have before us. We have some logistics to work out having two guys in different spots, but the most important thing is that we are in. We control our own destiny, and we are looking forward to regionals.”
Easton is second on the WKU squad with a stroke average of 72.0, which would rank third by a Hilltopper since 1994.
After missing the first two events of the season while representing his native Scotland in international play, Easton tallied five top-20 efforts in eight outings, including four top-10s and two top-5s, including back-to-back finishes in the top four at the Pinetree Intercollegiate and Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate.
He tied for seventh in Georgia’s historic Southern Intercollegiates, and then both he and Sargent tied for 10th in the C-USA Championship.