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To the Victor go the NCAA regionals

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SAN ANTONIO - Louisiana Tech sophomore Victor Lange returns to Briggs Ranch Golf Club this week in San Antonio, Texas as NCAA Regional play begins Thursday.

Lange enters as the No. 4 seed among 10 individuals in a tournament that features 10 individuals and 13 teams. His appearance marks the first by a Bulldog golfer at the NCAA Regionals in school history.

The advantage Lange has over several others at the NCAA Regionals this week is a familiarity with the host site. Louisiana Tech played at the Lone Star Invitational hosted by Briggs Ranch Golf Club earlier this season where Lange shot 4-over-par (72-74-74=220) on the par 72, 7,247-yard course.

However, Lange struggled off the tee in that tournament leading to what he believes to be a sub-par performance. He is anxious for his return to show what he can really do on that course.

“The week I went to San Antonio I was struggling off the tee,” Lange said of his earlier performance. “Previously my ball striking wasn’t quite up to par that week and that is why I struggled at Briggs Ranch, it is a tee shot golf course and I was struggling with my tee shots. Normally, my tee shots are my strong point. It was quite a big surprise to me really. So, I am looking forward to it. I don’t really need a practice round because I kind of know what I am going to do on every hole already. I am really just going out there in the practice round to see the texture of the grass, the sands, the green speeds and the playing conditions.”

Part of his redemption play this week will be improving on Holes 1 and 12, two holes on which he struggled at the Lone Star Invitational. Lange shot a combined 3-over-par on Hole 1 (Par 4, 455 yards) and 3-over-par on Hole 12 (Par 4, 466 yards).

“The first hole is a dogleg left,” recalled Lange. “The last day the bogey was just one of those things but in the second round I hooked it right, into trouble. I had to take a penalty drop and I was still in trouble. It was the tee shot that cost me there.  On the 12th hole, it was just a little bit of everything. It is really a simple hole, there is nothing to the hole. It was just one of those things and hopefully I can improve.”

He also looks to reenact his strong performance on Hole 5 (Par 5, 510 yards) where he shot a combined 3-under-par with three consecutive birdies earlier this year.

“It is a par five, a short-ish par five,” Lange said of Hole 5. “With my length, I took advantage of the hole. I was able to hit it down there quite a ways and then I was able to hit short irons into the par five, which makes it easy to make a birdie.”

Also familiar with a portion of his competition, Lange has posted a 17-8 record (.680 winning percentage) this season against the San Antonio regional field with a winning record against nine of the 11 golfers he has faced throughout the year.

“It is a big boost to the confidence. I know a lot of guys in the field; obviously there are quite a few people I don’t know but the majority I do know and I have beaten most of them so I know I can do it. There was never a doubt from the get-go. I am just trying got go there and execute my game plan and play my game. I am playing against these people but really I am just trying to do what I do every week. I just want to play the course as well as I can and if I do that then I know I can beat these people.”

The NCAA Regional round includes a practice round on Wednesday followed by three consecutive 18-hole rounds on Thursday through Saturday. The top five teams and the top individual not on one of those teams will advance to the NCAA Championships on May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas.

“NCAA Regionals is a big deal but really it is just another tournament,” said Lange. “I am just trying to advance to the NCAA finals. That would be the ultimate, obviously. I also think Coach Parks would love that as well and that is definitely the end goal. There is no doubt that we can’t reach that, we definitely can. But right now I am just trying to put three good rounds together so we will see what happens.”
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