Men's Golf Faces Challenging Field at Schenkel E-Z-Go Invite
March 18, 2010
STATESBORO, Ga. -- Playing in its first tournament since late February, the University of Kentucky men’s golf team travels south to Georgia to play in the Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational for the fifth consecutive year. The Invitational starts on Friday and is hosted by Georgia Southern University.
Kentucky has played in the 31-year old tournament the last five years, posting three top-10 finishes and two top-five finishes. Last season, the Wildcats finished fifth at the tournament led by then-sophomore James Kania and then-senior Andy Winings, who each finished in a tie for 14th. Seniors Jordan Blann and Ben Fuqua along with sophomore Mads Kristensen also played in the tournament last year. All four players, with the exception of the departed Winings will play in the tournament this year.
Junior Brian Belden and freshman Chase Parker will join Blann, Fuqua and Kristensen in the five-man UK rotation, with Kania playing as an individual. Belden and Parker have paced Kentucky this season as each player has played in seven of eight events this season. Parker boasts a team-low 75.35 season-stroke average, while Belden sits in second place with a 75.41 stroke average.
Kentucky is coming off an 11th place finish in the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate where Blann played arguably his best golf of the season. The native of Bowling Green, Ky., shot even-par the final two rounds of the tournament to finish in the top 20 and post his second top-20 finish of the season.
This year’s Invitational will be played at Forest Heights Country Club a par-72, 6,962 yard course and the home course to the Georgia Southern golf team. The 54-hole event is spread over three days with one round played each day. Teams tee off at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday for the final round.
This year’s field features five top 25 teams in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Men’s Coaches’ poll rankings and several others receiving votes. Comprising the 2010 field will be No. 21 Alabama, Auburn, No. 5 Florida, Louisville, LSU (RV), North Carolina, North Carolina State, No. 25 North Florida, Ole Miss, No. 13 South Carolina, Tennessee (RV), Vanderbilt, No. 23 Virginia and host Georgia Southern.
Six of the 15 teams have previously taken the Schenkel title including 2009 defending champion South Carolina. The Gamecocks claimed their first crown carding a team 865 with the help of individual runner-up George Bryan IV who posted a 212. Alabama, Florida, LSU, North Carolina and Ole Miss are the only other teams in the field to have claimed a title. Defending 2009 individual medalist Matt Hill of NC State will make a return trip to Statesboro after claiming the 2009 NCAA individual national championship to cap his sophomore campaign.