ANDERSON, S.C. – Less than a week after competing at the two-day Richard Rendleman Memorial in Salisbury, N.C., the Anderson University men’s golf team will be looking to improve on its 16th-place finish, as the Trojans head to Greeneville, Tenn. for the 21st annual Tusculum Invitational this weekend.
The Pioneers are playing host to 15 collegiate teams at Link Hills Country Club on Saturday and Sunday.
The first round begins at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, followed by Sunday’s final round which is slated to tee off at 9 a.m. on the par 71, 6,733-yard lay-out.
Tusculum has won the event in two of the last three years and six times overall (1995, 1997, 1998, 2006, 2011, 2012). In addition to the host Pioneers and the Trojans, this year’s tournament field will include fellow South Atlantic Conference members Lincoln Memorial University and Mars Hill University, along with Bluefield State College, Lee University, Urbana University and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Other participants include Marian University (Ind.), Milligan College, Parkland College, USC Lancaster, Spartanburg Methodist College, Tennessee Wesleyan College and Walters State College.
Lincoln Memorial is the defending champion of the tourney, while Walters State won the inaugural Tusculum Invitational in 1994. Lee University returns to the TC Invitational after winning the 2004 team championship.
Four of the teams in this year’s tournament field are ranked in the top 50 in the latest Golfstat head-to-head standings, including No. 22 Tennessee Wesleyan, No. 34 Milligan (NAIA), No. 37 Lincoln Memorial (NCAA II) and No. 49 Marian (NAIA). Two teams are also nationally ranked in the NJCAA Poll including No. 3 Walters State and No. 12 Parkland. In the latest Golfstat report, Lee University has the third-best team adjusted stroke average of 73.19. LU senior Hunter Vest leads the Flames with his 71.41 average, which is seventh in NCAA II. Lee teammate Matt Emery is 16th in the country with his 71.82 average. Lincoln Memorial is presently ninth in the nation with its 73.94 team adjusted average.
Marian University junior Vince Drahman is 18th in the NAIA Golfstat listings with his 72.27 average. Walters State is seventh in the country in the NJCAA Golfstat report with a 74.40 team average. The Senators are led by Tusculum signee Brad Hawkins, who is third in the country with his 71.00 average. WSCC teammate Andrew Hall is fifth in the nation with his 71.75 average.
The Trojans captured seventh at last year’s tourney, as Sean Shelton and John Moore each carded a two-day four-over par 146 to share 20th place.
Sophomore David Wachter paced the Trojans’ effort at the Catawba’s Rendleman Invitational with a 27th-place finish, while junior CJ Messana led AU with a 49th-place finish four weeks ago at the Spring Kickoff Intercollegiate in Fleming Island, Fla.
Admission to the 36-hole Tusculum Invitational is free and open to the public.