Golf to host nation’s top teams

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  • Photo courtesy of Eagle AthleticsThe golf team will host the 34th annual Schenkel Invitational at its home course this weekend.

Ryan Ramsey

The Georgia Southern University  golf team will be hosting the 34th annual Schenkel Invitational today through Sunday at the Forrest Heights Country Club in Statesboro.

Before GSU was known as a football powerhouse, Statesboro was on the map for its flawlessly run and highly competitive golf tournament that has seen some of the nation’s best talent. The tournament is named after legendary sportscaster Chris Schenkel, who called games for over five decades in a variety of sports. Forrest Heights Country Club is the home of the Schenkel and also the SoCon Tournament towards the end of the season.

This year’s event features three top ten golf teams in the nation, a Masters qualifier, and all big name programs around the country. No. 2 University of Texas, No. 7 University of Florida and No. 5 University of Alabama enter Statesboro looking to continue their dominance in the South along with No. 24 Vanderbilt University.

The underdog Eagles are coming off a third place finish at Samford University where they rallied in round three behind Will Evans career day to again finish in the top three. They will try to knock off defending Schenkel champion Alabama this weekend and take home the title on their home field.

“We’ve been preparing for it well all semester, especially this week. The boys have been working really hard and we will be ready to go Friday morning,” Collins said.

Eight Eagles will compete this weekend, Hayden Anderson, Will Evans, Charlie Martin, Blake Olson and Scott Wolfes making up the Eagle quintete and Matt Mierzejewski, Caleb Morris and Christian Humber playing as individuals.

GSU looks to us its home-course advantage to rally through the tournament.

“We know the greens a lot better than most of the teams coming,” Evans said in a news release. “We know where to hit it around the greens and which way the greens break. There are a lot of subtle breaks out here at Forest Heights, and it pays to know the greens.”

The tournaments large popularity and competitive field earned it as a deciding invitational on who qualifies for the NCAA tournament. The field has seen greats such as Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters Tournament victor, who came to Statesboro for the Schenkel Invitational in 2000, and two-time winner of the US Open Andy North.

“The Schenkel is a very big deal to the Georgia Southern golf program. It’s one of the most special events of the year in the country. It’s on our home course so we are very excited to compete on it, against other big name programs around the country,” assistant coach Carter Collins said.

Jackie Gutknecht contributed to this report.