No. 15 Men's Golf to Tee Off at Gopher Invitational

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
+0
No. 15 Men's Golf to Tee Off at Gopher Invitational

BATON ROUGE – The 15th-ranked LSU men’s golf team is set to kick off the 2010-11 season this weekend as it makes the trip to Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata, Minn., to compete in the 11-team field at the sixth-annual Gopher Invitational beginning Sunday morning.

The two-day, 54-hole championship will feature two rounds Sunday followed by the final round Monday, with the opening round set to begin Sunday with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. CDT.

The Tigers are no stranger to success at the Gopher Invitational as they make their return for the first time since 2008 when they captured the team title in their season opener for their first of three tournament titles in 2008-09. The course will play to a par 72 and 7,020 yards for the championship.

For the second year in a row, LSU will open with a Top 15 national ranking on its side as it was tabbed as the No. 15 team in the country in the Golfweek Preseason Top 30 poll released Wednesday.

“After a couple weeks of playing against one another, I know our guys are looking forward to tournament play,” said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. “Spring Hill Golf Club and the Gopher Invitational is a great place to open the season. I’m sure it will be a great experience for our team. We’re taking with us an experienced group this week, and we’re looking forward to starting the season in a positive way.”

The Tigers will compete as part of an 11-team field that includes two other programs ranked by Golfweek in its Top 30 preseason poll in No. 28 Arkansas and No. 29 Kent State. Also joining LSU is tournament host Minnesota, Iowa, Lamar, Marquette, SMU, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro and Wisconsin.

The SMU Mustangs return to defend the team title they won a year ago by 10 shots over Arkansas leading wire-to-wire en route to a winning 54-hole score of 9-under par 855 at Spring Hill Golf Club.

This marks LSU’s second appearance at the Gopher Invitational after capturing the team championship in its first appearance to kick off a successful 2008-09 campaign. The Tigers actually tied the University of Texas for the team crown in 2008 with a winning score of 8-over 872 in three rounds.

Three Tigers who competed at the Gopher Invitational two years ago are set to make their return to LSU’s starting lineup as senior All-American John Peterson, senior Clayton Rotz and junior Sang Yi will lead the way this weekend. They will be joined in the five-man lineup by senior Ken Looper and junior Austin Gutgsell to form an experienced lineup that has enjoyed great success at Spring Hill Golf Club.

In fact, Peterson, Rotz and Yi each earned top-10 finishes in the Gopher Invitational two seasons ago with Yi tying for fifth place with a team-leading score of even-par 216. Peterson finished in seventh place at 1-over 217, while Rotz finished in a tie for eighth place at 3-over 219.

LSU is paired with Iowa and UNC-Charlotte in Sunday’s action and will tee off from holes Nos. 4-8 with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. CDT. Live scoring of the event can be found online at www.golfstat.com.