Dec. 28, 2012
LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. - UC Davis junior Matt Hansen is among an elite group of college golf's top players competing this weekend at the 2012 Patriot All-America, a prestigious 54-hole tournament at The Wigwam Gold Course that will also honor America's fallen soldiers.
Players in the stroke-play tournament, which begins Saturday and runs through Monday, were selected by the Golf Coaches Association of America primarily based upon PING All-America honors from NCAA Divisions I, II and III, along with the NAIA and NJCAA Divisions I and II. Other elite amateur players, including representation from the armed service academies, are included.
Hansen was selected for the inaugural event last season but was unable to play. He currently leads UC Davis with a 71.6 stroke average and has a season-best eighth-place finish at Northwestern's Windon Memorial Classic. He earned All-Big West honors last season and PING All-America honorable mention accolades in 2011 when he was the league's freshman of the year.
"It's a very special event, not just from the prestige of the field made up of All-American golfers, but also from the aspect of honoring our great patriots that have served our country," said Aggie coach Cy Williams. " We are honored that Matt is representing UC Davis and very proud of Matt for earning his way into this event. He is very excited to participate."
Each player in the field will carry a golf bag embroidered with the name of a fallen soldier from the player's home state. The bags will later be auctioned by each player's participating school with proceeds benefitting the Folds of Honor Charity. Hansen will be representing and honoring Army Staff Sgt. David H. Gutierrez of San Francisco who died Dec. 25, 2009 in Afghanistan in an insurgent attack. Gutierrez was survived by his wife, Patty, and three sons.
Gutierrez also served his country in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 before his deployment to Afghanistan in 2009.
Hansen will tee of on the 10th hole and compete alongside Sebastian Cappelen of Arkansas and Bobby Holden of Redlands. Eighty-two players will compete in the tournament.