By Michael Ney
Media Relations Student Assistant
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - NCAA Men's Golf Regionals won't be Hayden Shieh's first rodeo, or even his second. The Santa Clara junior is back for his third trip in as many years, ready to make a big impact and advance on to nationals.
Coming off of a slow start in the fall ranked 450th in the nation according to GolfStat.com, Shieh has been playing excellent golf this spring and managed to turn things around completely and move up to 88th in the country.
"My guess is that he was easily one of the top 20 players in the country this spring," said head coach Rob Miller.
Going into the tournament, Shieh is seeded second among his region's individual competitors, reflecting his relaxed confidence and hot start this spring. However, Shieh doesn't like to get lost in the numbers, but rather focuses on getting his mind in the right place leading into the tournament.
"[My rank] doesn't matter. As an individual, you have to go for the win. Every time you're laying up, someone else is making birdies," said Shieh.
Even though it is Regionals, Shieh is staying cool under the pressure of such a large tournament, addressing this one like every other one he plays.
"I like to try to shoot one or two under the first round," said Shieh who posted a career-best 70.57 scoring average in 10 events this year. "That's my goal for every tournament and I try to improve every day."
Shieh's region, one of six around the nation, will compete at Stanford Golf Course, a course he has played at since he was 12. While this isn't his favorite course, experience and course knowledge will not be in short supply. The course favors long iron hitters and laying up because it is easy to end up in deep trouble in the tall rough when hitting the driver. But overall, it has a good mix of scoring holes and more difficult ones.
The best scoring five programs among the 13 teams and only the low individual from the 75 golfers at Stanford will advance to the finals, set for May 26-31, at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.
"Hayden will be in a positive state of mind because he knows how to play the course and he knows how to mentally prepare himself," said Miller.
The stage is set. On Monday, Shieh will tee off in his third regional, no stranger to the event.
"I just have to play safe," said Shieh. "Nine holes you can play safe, nine holes you can go for it."
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