Harrison Ott, Hunter Eichhorn is coming for you!
Well, that's mostly because Eichhorn — the Big East Conference runner-up from Marquette — learned Wednesday he had received an at-large individual berth to the 2021 NCAA Tournament and was assigned to the Kingston Springs Regional, which will be played May 17-19 and hosted by Ott, a former Milwaukee Marquette High School golfer from Brookfield, and his Vanderbilt Commodores at The Golf Club of Tennessee.
Madison native Clayton Tribus, a junior at Davidson University, is the only other Wisconsin golfer likely to tee it up in an NCAA Division 1 regional. He and the Wildcats, who won the Atlantic 10 Conference, were assigned to the Tallahassee Regional, to be hosted by Florida State at Seminole Legacy Golf Club.
Eichhorn, who will be making his third appearance in an NCAA regional, is the sixth-seeded individual in the Kingston Springs Region. Clemson, North Carolina State and Vanderbilt are the top three seeds for the regional.
"It’s just exciting to have another chance to go out and compete for a spot in nationals," Eichhorn wrote via text message to Wisconsin.Golf. "I’ve got a lot of experience going into my third trip and I’ll be utilizing all of that to try and come out on top in that event."
Vanderbilt earned an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament after winning the Southeastern Conference championship. The Commodores ran the tables in the match-play portion of the championship after finishing sixth in the stroke-play portion that determined seeding for match play.
“First of all, we are excited to have the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament and to host at The Golf Club of Tennessee,” Vanderbilt coach Scott Limbaugh said. “Our student-athletes have done a great job this year and it is an exciting time for them. They are pumped to have the chance to play in front of our fans here in Nashville at such an awesome venue.”
Eichhorn is looking forward to it as well.
The Carney, Mich., native earned co-medalist honors at the 2021 Big East Championship, falling in a playoff to Michael Cascino of Butler for the automatic NCAA berth. He also won the Big East title as a freshman in 2018 to earn the Big East's automatic individual berth and went with his team to the 2019 NCAA Division 1 Austin (Texas) Regional after the Golden Eagles won the Big East Championship.
Eichhorn is the program's first at-large selection to NCAA regional play since former teammate Matt Murlick in 2018. He also joins M Club Hall of Famer Mike Van Sickle, who earned a pair of at-large bids to regionals in 2007 and in 2009, when he was a No. 1-seeded player that season.
Thirteen teams and 10 individuals not on those teams will compete at each of three regionals while three other regionals will have 14 teams and five individuals not on those teams. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the finals.
Ott is the 2018 Wisconsin State Amateur champion, having won in an eight-hole playoff at Minocqua CC over Thomas Longbella, a University of Minnesota golfer from Chippewa Falls. He also won the Wisconsin State Open last summer at Blue Mound G&CC in Wauwatosa. Eichhorn won the 2019 State Amateur on the Links Course at the GCs of Lawsonia in Green Lake.
"it’ll be nice to see Harrison and I also know James Piot from Michigan State pretty well," Eichhorn wrote, referring to the top-seeded at-large selection to the regional, "so it’ll be nice to see some familiar faces in Tennessee."
Team and individual medalist titles will be decided May 28-June 2 at Grayhawk GC in Scottsdale, Ariz. Arizona State and The Thunderbirds are the hosts for the 2021 championships.