BALL LOOKS TO RECAPTURE SPIRIT OF ’13 AT U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

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Rising senior Adam Ball will compete among a field of 312 hopefuls at the U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 17-23.

Rising senior Adam Ball will compete among a field of 312 hopefuls at the U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 17-23.

RICHMOND, Va. – The U.S. Amateur Championship is the country’s oldest championship and one of its most prestigious. VCU rising senior Adam Ball (Richmond, Va.) is set to play in his fourth U.S. Amateur, but the feeling of competing in the revered event has not faded with time.

“Cannot wait. You have no idea. I can’t wait,” Ball said. “It’s my last one, too, so it’s pretty important to me. I’ve been working pretty hard for it. I’m excited.”

On Monday, Aug. 17, Ball will tee off at 1:20 p.m. at Olympia Fields Country Club outside of Chicago. He will be one of 312 golfers vying for the title of “U.S. Amateur Champion”.

Ball and his competitors will play 18 holes each on Monday and Tuesday. The top 64 scorers will advance to the match play bracket and eventually winnow to a sole champion on Aug. 23.

In 2013, Ball reached the quarterfinal round before he fell to eventual champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

“It was a magical week,” Ball said. “I got there, and the golf course really fit my eye and my swing while I was there, and my putter got hot for a couple of days. The next thing I knew I was in the quarterfinals and playing the eventual champion, and it was a really cool week. It was a neat experience to play on national television, to get that first one under my belt.”

It’s a grueling format, complete with a distraction few college golfers face, network TV coverage (Fox Sports 1 and Fox will broadcast match play). But Ball says he enjoys the challenge.

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GOLF NCAA REGIONAL PREVIEW

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VCU Golf punched its ticket to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2010 on April 27 when it captured the A-10 Championship. The Rams are off to the Briggs Ranch Golf Club May 15-17 in San Antonio, Texas. Our own Mike Voyack recently caught up with the team to look ahead to NCAA play.

THE YEAR IN VCU ATHLETICS, FROM A TO Z

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Wrong A-B-C...whatever, close enough.

Wrong A-B-C…whatever, close enough.

June marks the conclusion of the college athletics calendar, and July’s arrival effectively signals the beginning of the 2013-14 season, at least for those of us in the biz, anyway. It all makes this week a good time to reflect back on the year that was in VCU Athletics.

A – is for Atlantic 10 Conference, in which, according to our slogan, the Rams were ‘all-in’. We were also all-in for another season of “Arrested Development” and Pop Tart ice cream sandwiches, so we’re having a good year. VCU competed in the A-10 for the first time in 2012-13, a move that has elevated the program’s national profile. The Rams’ first A-10 title came via the women’s tennis squad, followed by a men’s tennis crown days later. Meanwhile, several other sports (men’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer) reached the league’s championship final.

B – is for the Ball family, one of the driving forces behind the VCU Golf program. They’re like the Kennedy’s of VCU Golf, but with a better short game. Matt Ball may have just completed his 14th season with the Rams, but this one was surely different than the others. That’s because 40 percent of his starting lineup was occupied by sons Adam and Matt Jr. Son Adam, a freshman, led the Rams in scoring average (73.53) this year, while Matt Jr., a junior, placed seventh at the A-10 Championship and was named to the league’s All-Academic Team.

C – is for Courtney Conrad, the alliteratively named star of the women’s soccer team. Conrad led the Rams with 11 goals, including five game-winners, and received All-Mid-Atlantic by the NSCAA.

D – is for Daniels, Troy. If you are a fan of basketball players who score three points at a time (and the signed, obscure Mark Price picture in my dining room proves I am), then you would’ve enjoyed Daniels’ 2012-13 season. In 36 games, Daniels bombed a school-record 124 three-pointers, including games of 11, nine and eight.

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THE RAM REPORT – SPRING 2013

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The Ram Report is near and dear to my heart. A new issue arrived in print about 10 days ago, and now it’s live on the interwebs as well. As always, I’m appreciative of the excellent design put forth by Eddie Johnson, as well as the editorial contributions from other folks in the department. Check out great features on new volleyball coach Jody Rogers, former VCU Baseball pitcher Ian Thomas, current Ram closer Matt Lees and the Ball family, the first family of VCU Golf, and more!

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