Feb. 4, 2005
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The spring season opens for the Memphis golf team as it heads to Houston for the Rice Intercollegiate. The tournament will be held on Monday and Tuesday, February 7-8 at the Wildcat Golf Course. The Tigers will be looking for their fourth tournament win of the year. The Rice Intercollegiate will be just the third collegiate tournament of the spring season to take place in the whole country, making the Memphis one of the first teams in the country to take to the links this spring.
There will be 54 holes of golf to be played. The first two rounds (36 holes) will be played on Monday and the tournament wraps up with a final 18 holes on Tuesday. There will also be a day for practice rounds on Sunday, February 6.
Tournament Field (15)
Army, DePaul, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Nebraska, North Texas, Rice, Sam Houston State, San Diego, Stephen F. Austin, Texas-Arlington, Texas-Pan American, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State
The Tigers already own three tournament victories this year, having won the Radrick Farms Intercollegiate, the Memphis Intercollegiate, and the Missouri Bluffs Challenge during the fall season.
In those three tournament victories, the Tigers had three different individual medalists. Keven Fortin-Simard won it in Michigan with a score of 5-under, Allan Thomas shot a 2-under to win the Memphis Intercollegiate, while Andy Shiels shot the lowest score in relation to par of the fall for the Tigers with an 8-under to top the field in Missouri.
Fortin-Simard currently leads the Tigers with a 71.67 stroke average. Thomas finished the fall with a 72.5 average per round while Shiels and Justin Miers both are averaging under 73 strokes per round as well, Shiels with a 72.67 and Miers at 72.92.
Memphis owns six rounds of below 70 this year, four of which came in Missouri, including their lowest round of the year, a 65 by Shiels, which was also the lowest in relation to par at 6-under. Tiger individuals also put together 17 sub-par rounds over their four tournaments. As a team, Memphis had three rounds below par out of 12.
Memphis had to rally from a deficit entering the final round to win in all three of its tournament victories. At Michigan, the Tigers were two strokes down to Purdue entering the final round and rallied to tie for the team title. At the Memphis Intercollegiate, Memphis trailed Central Florida by four strokes going into the last round and shot the lowest final round score of any team to win by seven strokes. In Missouri, the Tigers trailed Miami (Ohio) by two strokes after two rounds but then blitzed the field with a final round of 11-under 273 as a team to win by nine strokes.
Shiels Sets School Record
Freshman Andy Shiels set a new school record for the lowest score in a tournament when he shot a 205 (8-under) to win the Missouri Bluffs Challenge in October. The 205 surpasses the 206 shot by Tim Roop at the Glenn Red Jacoby in 1990.
Tigers Currently Ranked Above NCAA Regional Threshold
According to the latest Golfweek/Sagarin District rankings, Memphis is currently ranked seventh in the Southeast Region. These rankings are unofficial, however they are very close to the actual committee rankings. The top eight teams in the Southeast District are guaranteed a berth in the NCAA Regionals.
Southeast District Rankings
3. Georgia State
5. South Carolina
Tigers Freshmen Ranked Near the Top in Country
The Memphis freshman class is currently ranked seventh in the country in Golfstat's Top 25 Freshman Class Impact Rankings. This ranking attempts to measure the contributions of freshmen to the team's overall success. Memphis, which had two freshmen, Keven Fortin-Simard and Andy Shiels, in its lineup for all four tournaments, has a relative strength ranking of 374.619 out of a possible 1000 and Fortin-Simard and Shiels are averaging a combined 72.17 strokes per round. The freshmen have been ranked no lower than seventh for the entire fall and were ranked first in the first rankings that came out following Memphis' first tournament.
Trio Ranked in Golfstat Cup Top 250
At the end of the fall season, three Memphis golfers are also ranked in the top 250 standings for the Golfstat Cup. Keven Fortin-Simard is ranked #58, 2.251 strokes out of first place in adjusted average at 71.67. Allan Thomas is ranked #167, 3.085 stokes behind at 72.50. Andy Shiels came in at #203, 3.251 strokes out of first at 72.67. Justin Miers was ranked in the top 250 but dropped out after the Tigers' final fall tournament.
The Golfstat Cup is awarded every year to the individual with the lowest stroke average per round of golf. The rankings are adjusted to take into account par and conditions. Players must have played in at least 20 rounds by the end of the season and cannot have been disqualified or withdrawn from more than one stroke play tournament during the season. Past winners of the Golfstat Cup include Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Charles Howell, and Hunter Mahan.
Memphis Ranked in Top 10 of Statistical Categories
Memphis ended the fall season ranked in the top 10 in the country in a couple of statistical categories. The Tigers are tied for seventh in the country in par 3 scoring at 3.14. They are also ranked ninth in fairways hit at 73.1 percent and eighth in greens in regulation at 67.8 percent. Individually, freshman Keven Fortin-Simard is tied for first in the country with two other individuals in par 3 scoring with a 2.90 average.
Memphis in National Rankings
During the fall season, Memphis was ranked as high as 13th in the Golfweek rankings and 15th in the Golfstat rankings. After their final fall tournament, Memphis fell out of the Golfstat top 25 to 31st and is ranked 29th in the Golfweek rankings. Those two rankings are based on numbers and statistics. In the two polls that are subjective, based on voting, Memphis is receiving votes in Precept Coaches' Top 25 but has dropped out of the GolfWorld poll.
Three Straight a First
For the first time in the history of the program, Memphis not won three straight tournaments this fall. The only other time that Memphis had won even two in a row was back in the fall of 1990 when the Tigers won both the Hillman Robbins Memorial Intercollegiate in Memphis and the Dixie Intercollegiate in Columbus, Ga. The tournaments were respectively held on Oct. 9-10 and 19-21, 1990. Ironically, current head coach Grant Robbins was a redshirt freshman on the that season's team. Even more ironic, the individual medalist in both of those events was Memphis native Shaun Micheel, who competed collegiately for Indiana. The 1990-91 season was also the only other season in Memphis won more than one tournament in a season until this year.
Fortin-Simard Shatters Pair of Course Records
Freshman Keven Fortin-Simard not only shined in tournament competition this past fall, but he also put some impressive numbers in qualifying. While practicing and qualifying for the Memphis tournaments this year with his teammates, Fortin-Simard broke two Memphis-area course records. He shot 64's at both Whispering Woods and Quail Ridge over the fall.
Tigers Sign Three
Head coach Grant Robbins announced the signings of three student-athletes to national letters of intent for the 2005-06 school year. Brad Benjamin of Rockford, Ill., Jeff Hall of Franklin, Tenn., and Josh Ray of New Braunfels, Texas will all attend Memphis and play golf beginning next fall. Benjamin, from the same hometown as current freshman Andy Shiels, is currently ranked #47 in the Golfweek/Titleist Junior Rankings for the Class of 2005 and is also the top ranked junior in Illinois by Junior Golf Scoreboard. Hall is ranked #129 in the same rankings by Golfweek while Ray will be a third-generation student-athlete at Memphis as both his grandfather and father both played football and the U of M. All three individuals have played on a national level with the American Junior Golf Association.
About the Tournament Field
Army: The Black Knights are the defending champions of the Patriot League and appeared in the NCAA East Regional last year. They also had a successful fall season, finishing in the top five in four of their five fall tournaments, including a pair of second place finishes and a first place finish. They also won a dual match over rival Navy. Patrick Beverly leads the team with a 74.0 stroke average while Scott Manley is second at 75.7, including a low round of 68.
Finishes: Fairway Club Invitational (Nebraska) - 10th of 12
Blue Devil Fall Invitational (CCSU) - 1st of 13
Service Academy Golf Classic (Dallas, Texas) - 2nd of 4
Mulekicker Fall Classic (Army) - 2nd of 15
McDonald Cup (Yale) - T4th of 15
DePaul: The Blue Demons played in four tournaments over the fall and finished first in one of them, the Ironhorse Intercollegiate in Tuscola, Ill. Matthew McMahon has been the top DePaul finisher in all four of their tournaments, including a first-place finish in the St. John's Invitational and a sixth place finish at the Ironhorse Intercollegiate. He leads the Blue Demons with a 73.2 stroke average.
Finishes: John Piper Intercollegiate (Bowling Green) - 15th of 16
John Dallio Memorial Invitational (DePaul) - 10th of 13
Ironhorse Intercollegiate (Eastern Illinois) - 1st of 9
St. John's Invitational (St. John's) - T4th of 7
Louisiana-Lafayette: The Rajin' Cajuns played in five tournaments during the fall season with a pair of fifth place finishes being their best performances. They came in fifth at the Raising Cane Classic and also at the Missouri Bluffs Challenge, in which Memphis finished first. ULL individuals have shot seven rounds of below 70 and are led by Steven Pena's 72.4 stroke average. Michael Smith is second at 73.0 and Peter Badawy is third at 73.3 and leads the team in sub-par rounds with four.
Finishes: Mean Green Invitational (North Texas) - 9th of 14
Raising Cane Classic (Southern Miss) - 5th of 15
Stonebridge Invitational (SMU) - 12th of 16
Missouri Bluffs Challenge (Missouri) - 5th of 13
Coca-Cola Tournament of Champions (Tennessee) - T14th of 15
Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs played in six tournaments over the fall season, tied for the most of any team in the field. Their best finish was a second place performance at the La.-Monroe Fred Marx Invitational. That tournament also included a medalist from the Bulldogs, as Preston Smith won the tournament with a 2-under 214. Smith also leads La. Tech in stroke average with a 73.0.
Finishes: Mean Green Invitational (North Texas) - 10th of 14
Raising Cane Classic (Southern Miss) - T9th of 15
ULM Fred Marx Invitational (UL-Monroe) - 2nd of 12
Stonebridge Invitational (SMU) - 7th of 16
Squire Creek Intercollegiate (Louisiana Tech) - 17th of 17
Fall Beach Classic (South Alabama) - 11th of 12
Nebraska: The best part of the fall season for the Huskers came at the beginning, when they finished first at their own tournament, the Fairway Invitational. Since then, they have finished progressively lower in each tournament, of which they have also played in six so far this year. Judd Cornell leads Nebraska in stroke average with a 72.8 per round, including a low round of 66. He finished second at the Fairway Invitational. Brady Schnell and Tom Bethel are second and third, respectively in stroke average.
Finishes: Fairway Club Invitational (Nebraska) - 1st of 12
Kansas Invitational (Kansas) - 5th of 13
Ron Moore Intercollegiate (Denver) - 5th of 16
Xavier Invitational (Xavier) - 9th of 18
Squire Creek Intercollegiate (Louisiana Tech) - 11th of 17
49'er Collegiate Classic (Charlotte) - 12th of 15
North Texas: Similar to Nebraska's fall season, the Mean Green also had the best part of their fall at the beginning, finishing in a tie for second place in their own tournament, the Mean Green Invitational, their first tournament of the year. They did not finish in the top five in any of their other four tournaments of the fall, which included a ninth place finish at the Missouri Bluffs Challenge where Memphis finished first. Both Anthony Broussard and Andreas Kali-Nilsson are tied for the team lead in stroke average at 74.8.
Finishes: Mean Green Invitational (North Texas) - T2nd of 14
Adams Cup of Newport (Rhode Island) - 13th of 13
Missouri Bluffs Challenge (Missouri) - T9th of 13
Squire Creek Intercollegiate (Louisiana Tech) - 9th of 17
Rice: The host Owls own a pair of fourth-place finishes in two of the their four fall tournaments. They also finished eighth at the Radrick Farms Intercollegiate, a tournament in which Memphis finished in a three-way tie for first. This will be their fifth tournament of the year and the third held in Texas. Frank Buttacavoli leads the team with a 74.6 stroke average while Jeff Krakowiak is second at 74.7. Matt Toohey owns a pair of top 10 finishes. The Owls have started only six different golfers during the fall tournaments.
Finishes: Radrick Farms Intercollegiate (Michigan) - 8th of 14
Baylor Invitational (Baylor) - 6th of 9
Chrysler Crown Classic (Stephen F. Austin) - 4th of 9
Squire Creek Intercollegiate (Louisiana Tech) - 4th of 17
Sam Houston State: The Bearkats had a successful fall season, as they finished in the top five in three of their five tournaments, including a second place finish. They also had an individual medalist as Brian Bohlig finished first at the Chrysler Crown Classic. He is currently second on the team in average score per round with a 73.5 along with a low round of 68. Donald Jefferson is first at 73.3 and he owns a low round of 67 as well as a top three individual finish.
Finishes: Mean Green Invitational (North Texas) - 8th of 14
Raising Cane Classic (Southern Miss) - 2nd of 15
ULM Fred Marx Invitational (UL-Monroe) - 4th of 12
Chrysler Crown Classic (Stephen F. Austin) - 2nd of 9
Squire Creek Intercollegiate (Louisiana Tech) - 7th of 17
San Diego: The Toreros are coached by Tim Mickelson, the younger brother of PGA Tour professional Phil Mickelson. They finished the fall season strong with their best finish of the season, a fourth place finish in a 19-team field at their final tournament of the fall. They played in five tournaments in all. Torero individuals own a pair of top three finishes as Mike Shelley finished third at the Northwest Collegiate Classic and Bucky Coe tied for second at the Turtle Bay Intercollegiate.
Finishes: Northwest Collegiate Classic (Oregon State) - 13th of 13
Ron Moore Intercollegiate (Denver) - 8th of 16
WolfPack Classic (Nevada) - T6th of 17
Barona Collegiate Classic (San Diego State) - 14th of 14
Turtle Bay Intercollegiate (Hawaii) - 4th of 19
Stephen F. Austin: The Lumberjacks had one of the most successful fall seasons of any team in the field, as they had two first place finishes, one second, and two third place finishes in their five fall tournaments. Lumberjack individuals had five separate top five finishes in their five tournaments.
Finishes: Mean Green Invitational (North Texas) - T2nd of 14
ULM Fred Marx Invitational (UL-Monroe) - 1st of 12
Chrysler Crown Classic (Stephen F. Austin) - 1st of 9
Squire Creek Intercollegiate (Louisiana Tech) - 3rd of 17
Shangri La Shootout (Oral Roberts) - T3rd of 15
Texas-Arlington: Along with Memphis and Stephen F. Austin, the Mavericks had one of the most successful fall seasons of the 15-team field. UTA had two first-place and three second-place finishes in its five fall tournaments. They also had two individual medalists and a second place individual finisher. Tyrone Mordt, who was the individual medalist at the Fall Beach Classic, leads the Mavs with a 71.9 stroke average while Jeff Murray, the individual medalist at the Stonebridge Invitational, is second at 72.8.
Finishes: Northwest Collegiate Classic (Oregon State) - T2nd of 13
Baylor Invitational (Baylor) - 2nd of 9
Stonebridge Invitational (SMU) - 1st of 16
Squire Creek Intercollegiate (Louisiana Tech) - 1st of 17
Fall Beach Classic (South Alabama) - 2nd of 12
Texas-Pan American: The Broncs, a Division I independent, played in four tournaments over the fall, with a sixth place finish being their best. A.J. Hohn has been the top finisher for the Broncs in three of their four tournaments, and he also leads UTPA in stroke average at 76.3.
Finishes: Fairway Club Invitational (Nebraska) - 9th of 12
Stonebridge Invitational (SMU) - 16th of 16
Chrysler Crown Classic (Stephen F. Austin) - 6th of 9
The Nelson Invitational (Stanford) - 16th of 16
Texas-San Antonio: The Roadrunners own a pair of third place finishes in their four fall tournaments. Nick Olivarri, who leads the team in stroke average at 71.9, also has been UTSA's highest individual finisher, as he came in second at the Del Walker Intercollegiate. Matt Johnston and John Elizondo are second and third, respectively, in average score at 73.2 and 73.4. UTSA had three individuals finish in the top ten at the Kansas Invitational.
Finishes: Mean Green Invitational (North Texas) - 7th of 14
Kansas Invitational (Kansas) - 3rd of 13
Stonebridge Invitational (SMU) - T3rd of 16
Del Walker Intercollegiate (Long Beach State) - T8th of 12
Texas State: The Bobcats played in five tournaments during the fall, with the best finish being a seventh-place showing. Ryan Cromwell leads the team in scoring average with a 75.6 while Kyle Maze owns the top individual finish for the Bobcats, a ninth-place showing at the Fred Marx Invitational.
Finishes: Mean Green Invitational (North Texas) - 11th of 12
Baylor Invitational (Baylor) - 9th of 9
ULM/Fred Marx Invitational (UL-Monroe) - 10th of 12
Chrysler Crown Classic (Stephen F. Austin) - 7th of 9
Shangri La Shootout (Oral Roberts) - T11th of 15
Other Tournament Facts
- Memphis has competed against just three teams in the field in other tournaments so far this year. Those teams are Rice, Louisiana-Lafayette and North Texas.
- The Tigers will face four teams from this tournament in tournaments later on this spring. Those teams are DePaul, Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas-Arlington and Texas-San Antonio.
- Army is the only team in the field that played in last season's NCAA Regionals.
- The field features three teams that are currently ranked within the NCAA Regional threshold in their respective regions by the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Those are Army (#3 New England), Memphis (#7 Southeast), and Texas-Arlington (#4 South Central).
- None of the teams in the field are ranked in the National Top 25 in any poll or rankings. Memphis is the highest ranked team in any poll/ranking at #29 in the Golfweek rankings.
The Wildcat Golf Course is located just outside the downtown area of Houston, about a mile south of both Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome. It is the preferred golf course of the NFL's Houston Texans. Located on over 500 acres of land that feature dramatic elevation changes, the TifSport Bermuda grass fairways and rough are surrounded by several lakes. The TifEagle Bermuda grass greens are smooth and consistent. Designed by Scottish course architect Roy Case, the course features several views of the Houston skyline.
After being one of the first teams in the country to compete during the spring season, Memphis will take about a month off before its next tournament. The Tigers will head to the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to play in the St. Croix Collegiate Classic, hosted by Xavier University. The tournament will be held at the Carambola Golf Club in St. Croix from March 4-6.