UK Golfers Face Elite Field at Sawgrass Country Club

  • JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ? The University of Kentucky men?s golf team returns to action after a two-week layoff this weekend, Feb. 20-22, at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship hosted by North Florida. Deemed as the first major collegiate golf tournament of the year, the road to the NCAA Tournament begins in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., at Sawgrass Country Club.

    The Wildcats, who are ranked 11th in the latest GCAA/Bridgestone Coaches poll, will look to rebound from a disappointing finish at the Gator Invitational, Feb. 4-6, in Gainesville, Fla. Also this week, senior John Holmes was named to the watch list for the 2005 Ben Hogan Award.

    ?The weather has cooperated much better as we have been preparing for the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship,? said head coach Brian Craig. ?Hopefully, our games will be much sharper this time around and we can get back on the right track.?

    Throughout the last 14 years, the MBCC, hosted by Sawgrass Country Club, has grown into one of the premiere events in college golf and this year is no exception. The 2005 field features 10 teams that finished last season ranked in the top 30 of the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.

    Along with host UNF, the teams that round out the 2005 Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship are Alabama, Arkansas, Augusta State, Central Florida, Coastal Carolina, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia State, Kentucky, LSU, Northwestern, South Carolina, Tennessee, UCLA and UAB.

    With the top teams, also come the top golfers, giving fans an opportunity to get a look at the players they will see someday soon playing just across the street from the Sawgrass Country Club at THE PLAYERS Championship. This year?s field, which features six preseason All-Americas ? is keeping with that tradition.

    Tee times for the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship start Sunday morning at 8 a.m. when UCF, Georgia State and Alabama go off on the first hole along with UAB and Coastal Carolina on the 10th hole.

    South Carolina, Florida and UCLA begin the next flight of tee times on the first hole at 8:45 a.m. with UNF, Arkansas and Tennessee teeing off on the back nine.

    UK, Augusta State and Duke get the final groups rolling off the first tee at 9:30 a.m., while LSU, Florida State and Northwestern will start their day at the same time on the back nine.