Air Force Golfer Invited to Play in NCAA West Regional
May 7, 2002
Senior Ben Leestma received an at-large invitation to compete in the NCAA West Regional, to be played in Albuquerque, N.M. Six individuals and 27 teams will compete in the tournament, which will take place May 16-18 at The Championship Course (par 72, 7,368 yards).
"Leestma has been in the top 50 nationally for much of the year and definitely deserved an at-large invitation," head coach Gene Miranda said. "He has all the skills to compete and win at that level. "
Leestma is the first cadet to ever compete at regionals since the NCAA switched to the three-regional format in 1985. He is seeded second of the six individual qualifiers.
For the second consecutive season, Leestma was named the team's most valuable player. With three wins this year, he became the Falcons' all-time winningest golfer with seven tournament victories. He is a two-time winner of the Falcon Invitational and a four-time champion of the Service Academy Classic.
Leestma carded a 207 (70-66-71) at the 2001 Falcon Antigua Invitational, setting a new Air Force all-time 54-hole tournament scoring record. After winning his third consecutive tournament, the Louisiana Tech Invitational, Leestma was named Mountain West golfer of the month for October, 2001. He is currently ranked third in the conference with a 72.6 stroke average, the lowest stroke average in the history of the Academy. He was named to the all-conference team.
Five schools from the Mountain West Conference will be competing in the West Regionals: New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, BYU and Colorado State.