Men's Golfers Make Annual Trip to Sawgrass
BATON ROUGE - After opening up their 2013 spring season with a runner-up finish at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate on Tuesday, the 12th-ranked LSU Tigers will make their annual trip to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., this weekend as they compete at the John Hayt Invitational beginning Sunday at Sawgrass Country Club.
The course will play to a par 72 and 6,910 yards for the three-day, 54-hole championship as competitors will play one round on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Teams will tee off in Sunday's opening round beginning at 7 a.m. CT as groups will play on both the front nine and back nine.
The University of North Florida will team with Golfstat to provide live scoring of the event as fans can follow along online at www.golfstat.com.
The Tigers have enjoyed tremendous success against an elite field at the John Hayt Invitational in recent seasons as they captured back-to-back team championships in 2008 and 2009 before taking home a second-place team finish in 2010 and third-place finish in 2011 in the final men's team standings. They are looking to improve upon their eighth-place finish from a year ago and contend for a third win in six seasons against another strong 14-team field featuring six teams in the Top 25 and 10 teams in the Top 50 of the latest Golfstat rankings.
The Tigers are the consensus No. 12-ranked team in the country as they moved up two spots in the Golfstat Top 25 and held their position in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index following their first tournament of the spring season at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate held on Monday and Tuesday.
This year's John Hayt Invitational also features the likes of No. 7 Florida, No. 11 Duke, No. 14 Arkansas, No. 22 Tennessee and No. 25 North Florida in the latest Golfstat Top 25.
Round out the field are such Top 50 teams as No. 33 North Texas, No. 38 Tulsa, No. 45 Central Florida and No. 48 Coastal Carolina, as well as Alabama-Birmingham, Furman, Jacksonville and Mercer.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are the two-time defending team champions at the John Hayt Invitational after taking the title with winning scores of 3-over par 867 in 2011 and 8-over par 872 in 2012. LSU had a team score of 23-over par 887 in earning eighth place in the event a season ago.
LSU is paired with Arkansas and Duke in Sunday's opening round and will tee off from hole No. 1 beginning at 7:45 a.m. CT.
The Tigers will return their starting five that earned a second-place finish at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate earlier this week.
Juniors Andrew Presley and Smylie Kaufman and sophomore Stewart Jolly each tied for fifth place on the leaderboard at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate with matching 54-hole totals of 1-over 217 for their spring openers. Jolly is the team's leading scorer with a 72.9 scoring average and Presley follows with a 73.1 scoring average on the season. They are also the team leaders with two top-five finishes, three top-10 finishes and four top-20 finishes in five tournament appearances for the Tigers in 2012-13.
Rounding out the LSU lineup at the John Hayt Invitational will be standout sophomores Myles Lewis and Curtis Thompson as they are also set to compete this weekend.
Following their appearance at the John Hayt Invitational on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the Tigers will look to defend their team championship at the Louisiana Classics being held March 4-5 as they will compete at the 28th-annual event hosted by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette at Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette.