TRINITY, Texas - LSU's NCAA Champion Austin Ernst will represent the United States in the 2011 Spirit International Golf competition which begins here Wednesday at the Whispering Pines Golf Course as part of a 20-nation field.
The event is held every other year in Texas alternating with the World Amateur Team Championship.
Former USGA Executive Director David Fay is the team captain for the USA squad and he has his own version of a potential dream tee that will tee off Wednesday in the 72-hole, four-day event.
Ernst, as LSU golf fans know, won the NCAA Women's National Championship last May at Bryan, Texas, and earlier this fall helped the No. 2 ranked Lady Tigers to two team wins while earning her third career individual victory in the Cougar Classic. The Seneca, S.C. native averaged a team best 72.8 for her 12 rounds in the fall.
She will be joined on the women's side by her good friend and her caddy in her run to the semifinals of the U.S. Women's Amateur in August, Emily Tubert, of Arkansas. Tubert, from Burbank, Calif., won the U.S. Women's Public Links Championship in June.
The men's side is loaded as well with U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft of Washington, D.C., and U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion, Nathan Smith.
LSU freshman Madelene Sagstrom will also be taking part in this prestigious event, representing her home country of Sweden. Sagstrom earlier this week named one of the four up and coming freshman who debuted during the fall season with one top five finish, a part in the two LSU team victories and a scoring average of 73.0
There is one primary International Team competition, combining the best ball of the men's team and women's teams, with secondary competitions involving the best ball score of the two men against the other countries and the two women against the rest of the countries.
Finally, in a four ball format that will force competitors to be aggressive, there is a unique unofficial individual competition that will count the scores on the holes that a players records an under par number on.
Of the 80 players in the competition, 75 of them have at least one national championship on their resume'.
Live scoring of the event is available on the normal home of college golf scoring, golfstatresults.com. There is expected to be live online coverage of the event at www.thespiritgolf.com.