Feb. 5, 2014
WAIKOLOA, Hawaii - The No. 50 UC Davis men's golf team returns to competition after a three-month layoff when the Aggies open play on Thursday at the Amer Ari Invitational at Waikoloa Kings' Course on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The tournament, co-hosted by the University of Hawai'i and Hawai'i-Hilo, will feature 54 holes, with 18 holes contested on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The first-round shotgun start begins at 9:30 a.m. (PST) with the Aggies playing alongside No. 22 USC, No. 28 Auburn and co-host Hawai'i.
The tournament is one of the top collegiate events in the country and is ranked 22nd among all amateur events world-wide, and second only to the NCAA Div. I Championship for collegiate tournaments. Among the highly ranked teams competing this week are No. 2 Georgia Tech, No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Oklahoma, defending co-champions No. 13 Washington and No. 16 UCLA, No. 18 Texas, No. 34 Arizona State and No. 49 Oregon State.
Cal State Monterey Bay, Colorado, Oregon, San Jose State, TCU, Texas Tech and Osaka Gakuin from Japan round out the field.
This weekend's event is the first of six during the spring portion of UC Davis' season heading into April's Big West Championship. The Aggies played four tournaments in the fall, posting a second-place finish at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational, a third at the SCVB Pacific Invitational and two other top-10 finishes.
Senior Matt Hansen led UC Davis during the fall, averaging 70.3 strokes over 12 rounds including scoring in the 60s in five of the final six when he went a combined 18 under. His strong play included a tie for second at Pacific and the tie for fourth at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational.
Hansen, currently ranked 58th by Golfweek, will be joined this week by Ben Corfee, Luke Vivolo, Mike Brockington and Josh Granger. Corfee is averaging 71.9 strokes and has one top-10 finish.
"This is one of the premier tournaments in the country, along with our own The Prestige at PGA WEST," said Aggie coach Cy Williams
. "The guys have been working very hard. Josh is back in the lineup for us so we feel like our lineup is getting deeper. We're excited to play this week. It's always an amazing field."
UC Davis will return from Hawaii after this weekend and begin preparing for The Prestige at PGA WEST which it will co-host with Stanford on Feb. 17-19 in La Quinta, Calif. The tournament is the 39th-ranked amateur event in the world and one of the top collegiate events.