LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – Both New Mexico State’s Garrison Smith and Aidan Thomas qualified for the NCAA Tournament and will head to the Las Vegas Regional.
Smith will make his second appearance in the NCAA Tournament after playing in the 2021 Southwest Regional in Albuquerque. Smith, a then-COVID sophomore, finished in a tie for eighteenth, firing a 213 (-3). Smith qualified for this year’s tournament field after winning the WAC Men’s Golf Championship as an individual, shooting a record-breaking 197 (-19) in the process.
“Right now, I just think that my game is on top of where it’s ever been before,” Smith said. “I am playing very well, and I think I could win the whole thing. If it happens, it happens. I will be happy. If it doesn’t, I will give it a good shot.”
Thomas heads to regionals for the third time in his career after securing an at-large bid. Much like Smith, Thomas competed with the Aggies in the 2021 Southwest Regional in Albuquerque. In his hometown, Thomas fired a 222 (+6), tying for fifty first. Last season, Smith went to the Bryan Regional, hosted by Texas A&M. As a sophomore, Thomas finished one shot better than his previous regional appearance, carding a 221 (+5). Thomas picked up his third All-WAC First Team honor on Tuesday and looks to make some noise in Vegas.
“We’ve played two tournaments in Vegas so far and I played pretty good in those tournaments” Thomas said. “I have a lot of confidence going into this tournament just based off Vegas golf.”
The Las Vegas Regional will take place at Bear’s Best Las Vegas from May 15-17, 2023. To advance to the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale, Arizona, Smith or Thomas must be the top individual that is not on the team that wins the Las Vegas Regional. The Aggie duo will be joined by Caden Fioroni (UNLV), Mac McClear (Iowa), and Brady McKinlay (Utah Valley)
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Bear’s Best Las Vegas is a unique golf course. Composed of manicured bent grass greens, challenging designs, and immaculate fairway/tee complexes, Thomas and Smith will be in for a challenging course. Nicklaus and his design team scoured photos and plans from hundreds of holes across his 270 designs worldwide to develop the plan for the 18 holes in Las Vegas.
Smith and Thomas will be competing for a spot at the NCAA Championships as one of the six qualifying individuals. One individual from each of the six regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale from May 26-31.
Tournament Notes (Courtesy: NM State Athletics)
2023 NCAA Las Vegas Regional
Dates: Monday, May 15 – Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Course: Bear’s Best Las Vegas
How to Follow
Each shot of the 2023 NCAA Las Vegas Regional will be entered into Golfstat. Fans can follow along throughout the day for free.
The Las Vegas regional features 14 teams and five individuals. The postseason field as full of elite talent including No. 4 Arizona State, No. 8 Stanford, No. 16 Virginia, No. 21 Oklahoma State, No. 28 Northwestern, No. 33 East Tennessee State, No. 40 Cincinnati, No. 45 San Francisco, No. 57 Long Beach State, No. 66 Oregon State, No. 83 Davidson, Kansas City, Lehigh, and No. 51 UNCG.
Smith and Thomas will compete against three individuals, including Brady McKinlay (Utah Valley), Mac McClear (Iowa) and No. 39 Caden Fioroni (UNLV).
The tournament will last three days with one round being played each day, weather permitting. The NCAA Las Vegas will feature 54-holes of stroke play with the top individual not on the championship winning team advancing to the NCAA Championships in Scottsdale.
Teeing Off for the Aggies
1.Garrison Smith – 10:31 a.m. MT
2.Aidan Thomas – 10:42 a.m. MT