Ohio senior golfer Erik Herberth (Avon Lake) enters play Thursday in the NCAA Central Regional in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is one of only six individuals invited to the event, along with 27 full teams. The tournament is being played at Pleasant Valley Golf Course over three days.
Wednesday afternoon, Erik was scheduled to play a practice round at Pleasant Valley Golf Course before beginning play in the NCAA Central Regional Thursday. Herberthís tee time Thursday is set for 2:03 pm eastern time. You can follow his round live hole-by-hole right here at ohiobobcats.com, the official site for Ohio Athletics.
Before he left campus with Ohio Coach Bob Cooley, Herberth sat down and talked about the trip.
Q: Were you surprised when you received your invitation to play in the Regional Tournament?
EH: I wasnít expecting it. I didnít even know there were at-large bids to the NCAAís. I thought it was just for teams. I thought my collegiate career was done at the MACís.
Q: Itís been about a week since you found out. Have you had any time to prepare specifically for this tournament?
EH: Actually, I spent most of that time at the U.S. Open qualifier back home in Cleveland.
Q: How did you perform there?
EH: I played well, considering the weather. The course, Red Tail, was nearly unplayable with all of the rain. I shot a 73, while a lot of other guys didnít finish their round due to the weather. Nine qualifiers from there will move on. The course was really playing tough, and they werenít allowing us to lift, clean and place the golf ball, so scores werenít going to come in real low.
Q: In an event like that, youíre playing as an individual. And in collegiate tournaments, youíre part of a team. This week, youíre somewhere in between. Will that be strange?
EH: I donít know what to expect from Thursday, really. NCAA play is different typically because itís usually a team game. Youíre not just out there worrying about what youíre doing, but also what your teammates are doing. That wonít be the case for me this week, but Iíll still be playing for Ohio.
Q: You took a redshirt year last season before coming back this year for your senior season. Looking back on that decision, was that a good move for you?
EH: I think it worked out for the bestÖ.for me and for the team too. It was tough at first last year. Every time they left for a trip, I really wished that I was going with them. But I told myself that it would work out for the best and it did. I think some of the guys really improved by having bigger roles last year.
Q: Coach Cooley will be with you on this trip. And he wonít be keeping up with anyone but you on the course. Will you benefit from that?
EH: If anything, probably more as a friend. Being on a golf course, having someone to talk to, that can be a great asset during a competitive round.
Q: What are your expectations from competing in the NCAA Regional?
EH: I fully expect to qualify out of here and go to the NCAAís. I guess everyone does. But with the NCAA championship being held in Columbus this year, it would be a great thrill for me if I did.