A look at the new U.S. Collegiate tourney
Thursday, January 28, 2010
One tournament you do not see on this year’s men’s spring schedule is the U.S. Collegiate Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, just north of Atlanta.
From the first time this event was held in the spring of 2006, it has attracted one of the best fields in college golf and immediately became one of the game’s premier tournaments. In its four-year history, the USCC has been held in and around Masters week and the club’s other significant event, The Georgia Cup, an 18-hole competition between the reigning U.S. and British Amateur champions.
“It really just became too much for the club and the members to hold two big events like the Georgia Cup and USCC within a 10-day period,” said Glenn Sheeley, director of communications at the Golf Club of Georgia. “And in these tough economic times, it’s tough to get sponsors for back-to-back events like this.”
Since the Georgia Cup is annually staged just before the Masters – slated this year March 30 – as both champions are invited to compete at Augusta National Golf Club, it had to keep the spring date.
Still wanting to continue with the USCC, the Golf Club of Georgia and host team Georgia Tech decided to move the event to the fall. The problem is finding workable dates and still trying to attract the same top-quality field of teams.
The USCC will be back on the 2010-11 tournament schedule and will be played Oct. 24-26. Organizers know getting top teams will be a challenge since those are the same dates as the Isleworth Collegiate in Florida, also considered one of the leading events in college golf.
The USCC lost some top teams, but overall the event will still put forth an extremely strong field come October.
“We knew it would be tough, going against Isleworth, but those were the best dates for us,” Sheeley said. “Everything considered, I think we did an outstanding job of getting a lot of quality teams and won’t miss much of a beat going to the fall.”
He’s right about that. Of the 15 teams committed to play, 14 were ranked among the top 50 in the Golfweek/Sagarin final fall rankings, including 2009 NCAA champion Texas A&M (6), Florida State (5), Washington (8) and Augusta State (9).
Also in the field will be South Carolina, USC, Virginia, host Georgia Tech, defending USCC champ Clemson, UCLA, East Tennessee State, Kent State, Duke, Wake Forest and Georgia State.
“The other thing, too, is in October we have our best weather, and the golf course will be much firmer and faster,” Sheeley said. “It will almost be like a different golf course than what they see in the spring.
“The club and its members love the USCC, love having these very talented young players here and are very excited about continuing to host the event. There’s no doubt we will continue to put on a first-class tournament, just like we did in the spring.”
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Coaches and players from within the NJCAA (junior college) and NAIA will have their time in the world spotlight this year as part of the World University Men’s Golf Championships.
The international competition will take place June 7-11 in Malaga, Spain.
Selected by their respective associations, Dave Jennings of Central Alabama Community College and Jeff Griebel of St. Ambrose University will coach the men’s team, a six-man squad selected by the two coaches based on individual record and national ranking within their respective organization.
For Jennings, the trip to Spain comes shortly after Central Alabama hosts the third of three consecutive NJCAA Division I Men’s National Championships.
“This is a great honor, not only for myself and Jeff as coaches, but for the young men who will also represent the United States in this international competition,” Jennings said. “And, what a thrill it’s going to be for all of us to travel to Spain to do just that.”
Jennings and Griebel will have one of their own players on the six-man squad: Zach Primavera of CACC and Dusty Drenth of St. Ambrose.
Rounding out the U.S. contingent will be Kurt Slattery of Indian Hills Community College, Spencer Baldwin of Brevard Community College, Justin Lower of Malone College and Austin Conroy of Indiana Wesleyan.
On the women’s side for this year’s World University Golf Championships, also to be played in Malaga, Spain on the same dates, Diane Thomason, past women’s head coach at the University of Iowa, will guide Team USA, which will be comprised of six NCAA Division I players.
Competing in the women’s event will be Laura Anderson of Louisville, Stefanie Kenoyer of Furman, Catherine O’Donnell of North Carolina, Lara Kueny of Michigan State and Ashley Bauer of Michigan. One player is still to be determined.
The World University Championships, sponsored by the International University Sports Federation, is held every two years. The 2008 event was staged in South Africa. Team USA won the women’s gold medal in a 13-country field, while the U.S. men placed fifth out of 14 countries. Japan won the gold, Spain the silver and Great Britain the bronze.
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Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion each landed four players on the recently announced Colonial Athletic Association’s Silver Anniversary Men’s Golf Team.
As part of the league’s 25th anniversary celebration in 2009-10, the CAA is recognizing Silver Anniversary teams in 21 championship sports. The teams were selected by a panel of current and former coaches in the conference.
Members of the men’s golf team: Ted Brown, Donny Lee, Reg Millage and John Rollins from VCU; Stan Guerrero, Michael Hospodar, Eric Onesi and Geoffrey Harris of Old Dominion; Mark Haastrup, Tom Sherreard and Joel Sjoholm of Georgia State; Derek Brown and Adam Gee of UNC-Wilmington; Jeff Castle and Billy Wingerd of Towson; Josh Dickinson and John Maginnes of East Carolina; Rob Gai, Steve Jamroz and Rob Shawger of Richmond; John McHenry, Brent Paladino and Tim Pemberton of William & Mary; Craig Mason of George Mason; and Jay Woodson of James Madison.
Stan Guerrero Monday qualified as an amateur for this week's Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour.