What: Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational
Where: Raven Golf Club at Sandestin, Sandestin, Fla.
When: Oct. 13-16
The men’s field (with current Golfstat rank): Wittenberg University (1), Methodist University (2), Oglethorpe University (3), Texas at Tyler (5), Illinois Wesleyan (7), Emory University (10), Guilford College (11), Transylvania University (14), St. Thomas, U. of-MN (15), St. John Fisher College (20), St. John’s University(MN) (21), Skidmore College (24), Greensboro College (31), Christopher Newport (35), Averett University (44), Huntingdon College (55), LaGrange College (57), Rhodes College (65)
The women’s field (with current Golfstat rank): Methodist University (1), Centre College (2), Washington U.-St. Louis (4), Birmingham Southern (6), Mary Hardin-Baylor (10), Southwestern University (12), Carleton College (14), Piedmont College (23), Illinois Wesleyan (24), Allegheny College(26), Oglethorpe University (48), Huntingdon College (68), Berry College (NA), Randolph-Macon (NA)
Why it’s important (men): The Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational will closely resemble a national championship with 10 of the top-20 teams in the field.
Dating back to 2007, the past six national champions are in the field this week, including 2009 and 2012 national champions, Oglethorpe.
Currently ranked-No. 3 in the Golfstat rankings, Olgethorpe has started the season hot. The Stormy Petrels have won two of their first three tournaments. Their first win at the Southern Athletics Association Preview came with a 28-stroke victory, while at their home tournament, the Royal Lakes/ Olgethorpe Fall Invitational, they had to come from behind to eventually win by three strokes.
Olgethrope is lead by sophomore Anthony Maccaglia, who has two individual medalist honors (both at the tournaments the team has won), and finished runner-up at The Gordin Classic.
Wittenberg University will enter the event as the nation’s top-ranked team, while Methodist is ranked No. 2. Wittenberg won The Gordin Classic by two-shots over Methodist. Wittenberg Sophomore Alex Andrews won the individual title.
Last year, Guilford and Noah Ratner won this Division III event on the Raven Course. Ratner went on to win the 2012 Jack Nicklaus award as the top player in NCAA Division III golf.
Why it’s important (women): Welcome ladies. This is the first time the Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational will host a women’s tournament. Seven of the top-14 teams are in the field.
Since the NCAA Division III women’s golf national championships began in 2000, Methodist has won all of them. That means 13 consecutive titles.
The No. 1-ranked Monarchs have won two of their first three tournaments. A record-setting sixth consecutive title at the Piedmont College Fall Invitational was just the start of their season. The women won again at the O’Brien National Invitational and finished in fourth at the BSC Southern Shootout.
No. 2 Centre College and No. 4 Washington U.-St. Louis both finished in the top-five at the BSC Southern Shootout.
Junior Katarina Hodge of Piedmont College is the top-ranked player in the field this week at No. 3. Hodge hasn’t finished outside of the top-5 in four tournaments this year for the Lions, including two wins at the Piedmont College Fall Invitational and the Georgia Mountains Trophy.
Sandestin, Fla., is the site of the 2013 NCAA Division III men’s and women’s golf championships in May at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. This is where Golfweek hosted last year’s Division III Fall Invitational.