AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The GRU Augusta Men's Golf program kicks off the 2013-14 season this weekend in the Prairie State.
The Jaguars, who return four starters from last season's lineup that sent two individuals to the NCAA Regionals, will open the season Friday in the eighth annual Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational. The three-day, 54-hole event -- hosted by the University of Illinois -- will be contested at Olympia Fields Country Club, the same site as the 2003 U.S. Open won by Jim Furyk. In fact, tournament officials will use the same tees and pins as the USGA utilized during Furyk's victory.
"Our guys have worked hard to get better and we're excited to tee it up and represent GRU Augusta in its inaugural year," said Jags' Head Coach Kevin McPherson. "Olympia Fields always attracts a great field of teams, and this year's tournament might be the strongest field they've ever had. It's always fun to go to the Chicagoland area and we'll find out real fast what kind of team we've got. Olympia Fields is always a true test right out of the box.
The tourney will feature one of the strongest fields of any event in the nation. Top-ranked Alabama, the defending national champion, headlines a 15-team field that includes No. 7 Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Florida, No. 13 Florida State, GRU Augusta, No. 14 Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, No. 8 Oklahoma State, No. 21 SMU, No. 9 Stanford, No. 3 Texas and Texas Tech.
The Jags' lineup will include senior Alex Wennstam, junior Cody Shafer, sophomores Maverick Antcliff and Meechai Padung along with freshman Jackson Stroup. Wennstam and Antcliff represented the Jags at the NCAA Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional in May, 2013, where Antcliff finished 19th and Wennstam took 49th. Antcliff's strong summer season included a victory in the Rice Planters Amateur.
The Jags are making their fifth straight appearance in the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational. Arkansas is the defending champion after the Razorbacks notched a 13-stroke victory over Florida in 2012. Stanford All-American Patrick Rodgers was medalist for the second straight year with a 3-under total of 207 on the par-70, 7,142-yard North Course layout.
Live scoring of the tourney will be available at www.golfstat.com. Tee times begin each day at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
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