Georgia Southern Golf Begins Spring Season at the SunTrust Gator Invitational
STATESBORO, Ga. - The Georgia Southern Golf team tees up the spring campaign Saturday, February 12th, as it travels to Gainesville, Fla., for the 33rd annual SunTrust Gator Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida. The tournament, played on a par-70, 6,701-yard course, features three teams in the Golfweek/Sagarin Top 25 rankings and five teams that participated in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
"The Gator hosts a very competitive field and will be a good challenge that will let us know where we stand right out of the gates," says Head Coach Larry Mays. "If we can get a good finish this weekend, it will be a springboard for the rest of the season. If we struggle, we know we still have some work to do to get where we want to go. Hopefully, we will go down there and get the spring off to a good start."
The Gator Invitational features 14 teams from across the South: Alabama-Birmingham, Auburn, Central Florida, Coastal Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Jacksonville, Lamar, LSU, North Florida, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
Florida, playing host to the tournament, begins the spring season ranked third in the Golfweek/Sargarin poll. LSU and Auburn follow, ranking eighth and ninth, respectively. Georgia Southern, Florida State and North Florida join the Gators and Tigers as participants in last year's NCAA Championship Tournament.
The Gator Invitational marks the first tournament for the Eagles since concluding the fall 2010 campaign at the David Toms Intercollegiate on October 19th. Since their last competition, players have been focused on and off the golf course.
"The team took some time off after the fall portion of the season and really concentrated on academics," states Mays. "Each player also used the break to look at their individual areas of need on the course and put together an action plan to improve."
Georgia Southern will travel Logan Blondell (Lakeland, Fla.), Matt Deal (Statesboro, Ga.), Lewis Gruber (Tallahassee, Fla.), Florian Sander (Bregenz, Austria) and Thomas Sharkey (Helensburgh, Scotland). Hayden Anderson (Knoxville, Tenn.) will be competing as an individual. Blondell leads the team with a 72.42 stroke average in 12 rounds. The senior also captured a second-place finish in the Mizuno Savannah Intercollegiate.
This will be the Eagles' fifth different five-man lineup of the 2010-11 season, which has seen the fifth spot rotate amongst team members.
"Every player on the team got a chance to play in a tournament or two in the fall, which hopefully, will pay off for us this spring," says Mays. "They all have been given a chance to prove themselves and get 'into the fire' as they say. We are a little on the young side this year, so getting those reps in competition should only help us."
This will be Georgia Southern's 11th-straight trip to Gainesville, Fla., for the Gator Invitational. The Eagles' best finish at the tournament came in 1980 when the team won the event with a 5-over 845. Two years later, Jodie Mudd posted a 9-under 201 to take home individual medalist honors in 1982, the lone Eagle to ever do so. Mudd's 201 (-9) tournament total is still tied for fifth lowest all-time at the Gator.
Last year, Georgia Southern finished ninth at the Gator Invitational. Ryan Zabroske led the team with an 8-over 218 (76-74-68) which placed him in a tie for 19th. Florida, coached by Georgia Southern alum Buddy Alexander, won the tournament for the seventh-straight time.
Fans can get live scoring of the SunTrust Gator Invitational by visiting www.golfstat.com.
Follow the Eagle Golf team on GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/golf or get short updates on facebook.com/GSAthletics or twitter.com/GSAthletics.
- Category: Golf
- Published on Friday, 11 February 2011 20:16