Ga. Tech, Oklahoma St., Texas headline Amer Ari field
Eighteen teams will say “aloha” to the spring season at the Amer Ari Invitational at the Waikoloa King’s Course (Hawaii).
Here are 5 Things to know about the tournaments running Thursday to Saturday:
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1. LOCKED AND LOADED FIELD: Twelve teams ranked in the Golfweek/Sagarin top 50 will tee off in Hawaii, including: Georgia Tech (No. 2), Oklahoma State (No. 3), Stanford (No. 9), Oklahoma (No. 12), Washington (No. 13), UCLA (No. 16), Texas (No. 18), Southern California (No. 22), Auburn (No. 28), Arizona State (No. 34), Oregon State (No. 49) and UC Davis (No. 50).
Rounding out the field is Cal State Monterey Bay, Colorado, Hawaii, UH-Hilo, Oregon, Osaka Gakuin, San Jose State, TCU and Texas Tech.
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2. NO HARD FEELINGS: Last year, UCLA beat out Washington in a sudden-death playoff. The Bruins return to the Big Island to defend their title while the Huskies will look for some revenge. Three golfers from last year’s tournament return for Washington and two golfers from last year’s tournament return for UCLA.
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3. WARMED UP: While Thursday will mark the first spring tournament for many teams, Southern California and Oregon State played last week at the Arizona Intercollegiate. The Trojans nabbed a top-five finish amid a strong field, with junior Anthony Paolucci finishing T-5.
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4. EAST COAST BIAS: Georgia Tech, the top-ranked team in the Amer Ari Invitational field, will be the only team making the trip from the Eastern time zone. Tee times in Waikoloa, Hawaii, will be five hours off from what the Yellow Jackets are accustomed to.
Junior Ollie Schniederjans, the No. 5 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, leads the Yellow Jackets after a successful fall, when he finished in the top five in four of five tournaments.
Besides Georgia Tech, only five teams are from the state of Texas or further east (Auburn, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech).
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5. (FAR) EAST BIAS: While the Yellow Jackets might have quite the distance to travel, they won’t be needing passports like Osaka Gakuin, from Suita, Japan. But the international team have made the trip before, finishing 15th at last year’s event.