BATON ROUGE – The No. 9-ranked LSU Tigers will open up their season with a trip to The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face, Georgia, for the fourth-straight season this weekend as they tee off at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic on Friday morning in what is sure to be a preview of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships.
The Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic has earned a reputation as one of the premier events of the fall season as The Farm Golf Club will play host to another outstanding 14-team field that features six teams that teed it up at the NCAA Championships a year ago and five teams ranked in the Golf Coaches Association of America Preseason Top 25 national poll.
The Tom Fazio design at The Farm Golf Club will play to a par 72 and 7,012 yards during the three-day, 54-hole championship with rounds being played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Friday’s opening round is set to begin at 6:30 a.m. CT with tee times on holes No. 1 and No. 10. The tournament continues with the second round on Saturday and final round on Sunday to decide the championship.
The Tigers are certainly one of the premier programs competing at this year’s Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic in their first event after advancing to the NCAA Final Four in the semifinals of match play at the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships held at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, back in May. They officially tied for third place nationally at the NCAA Championships a year ago for their first Top 10 finish in the event since tying for eighth place in 1989 and their best finish since earning third place in 1967.
With a solid core of Tigers returning for the 2014-15 season, they are the No. 9-ranked team nationally to open the campaign with the release of the GCAA Preseason Top 25 a week ago. It marks the second season in a row in which the Tigers are ranked among the Top 10 teams nationally after kicking off the 2013-14 campaign as the No. 9-ranked team in the Golfweek Preseason Top 30.
They are joined in the field this week by No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Alabama, No. 3-ranked Georgia Tech, No. 12-ranked South Carolina and No. 20-ranked Auburn that also crack the GCAA rankings to kick off the 2014-15 season. Rounding out the field are Chattanooga, Clemson, Florida, Kennesaw State, Middle Tennessee State, North Carolina, North Florida, Tennessee and Wake Forest.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are the defending champions at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic after a six-shot victory over the runner-up Georgia Bulldogs with their winning 54-hole score of 14-under par 850 for their performance a year ago. LSU earned its best finish in three appearances in the event with a third-place finish after opening the 2013-14 season with a score of even-par 864 at The Farm Golf Club.
The Tigers are paired with Alabama and Georgia Tech in Friday’s opening round of the 26th-annual Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic and will tee off from the front nine beginning at 8 a.m. CT.
Senior Stewart Jolly kicked off what proved to be an All-American junior season a year ago by leading the Tigers with a third-place finish on the individual leaderboard at The Farm as he posted a total of 5-under par 211 in three rounds, including a 4-under par 68 in the second round. Jolly has enjoyed great success at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic in recent years as he also tied for 11th place at 2-under par 214 back in 2012.
Jolly earned Third-Team All-American honors from both PING and Golfweek a year ago while leading the Tigers with a career-low 71.50 scoring average while appearing in all 12 tournaments for the 2013-14 season.
Junior standout Zach Wright posted a career-low scoring average of his own a year ago with a 73.57 stroke average in 10 tournament starts for the Tigers, and joins Jolly as the only two Tigers in the lineup with previous experience at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic. Wright tied for 31st in the event in his collegiate debut as a freshman in 2012 before tying for 48th place as a sophomore a year ago.
The Tigers actually return two All-Americans that led them on a run to the NCAA Final Four a year ago as senior Ben Taylor also cracks LSU’s starting lineup in the season opener after being selected as a PING Honorable Mention All-American in his first season in the program last spring. Taylor earned a Top 10 individual finish at the NCAA Championships a year ago when he tied for sixth place in three rounds of medal play.
Rounding out LSU’s starting five at the 26th-annual Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic are sophomore Eric Ricard making his fifth career appearance and freshman Blake Caldwell making his collegiate debut this weekend.
Live scoring for each round at this year’s event will be provided by Golfstat and can be found online at http://www.golfstat.com/. After opening their 2014-15 season in Rocky Face, Georgia, this weekend, the Tigers will make the trip to Burlington, Iowa, from Sept. 14-16 for return trip to the Golfweek Conference Challenge being held at Spirit Hollow Golf Club.