March 9, 2005
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After having just four days off since their last tournament in the Virgin Islands, the Tiger golf team returns to action in Tuscaloosa, Ala. to play in the Conrad Rehling Invitational, hosted by the University of Alabama. The three-day tournament, which has been hosted since 1978 by the Crimson Tide, runs from Friday-Sunday, March 11-13 at the Ol' Colony Golf Club.
There will be 54 holes played, 18 on each day from Friday through Sunday. There will also be a practice round on Thursday, March 10.
Tournament Field (12)
Alabama, College of Charleston, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Alabama, Tulane, UAB
The Ol' Colony Golf Club, which opened in December of 2000, is a Jerry Pate signature course and was named one of the top five best new courses in the country by Golf Digest in 2001. The course is surrounded by woods featuring tall oak and pine trees. It is known for its large bunkers and several water hazards, including a 25-acre lake. Considered one of the finest public courses not only in Alabama but the entire country as well, the par 72, 7,041 yard course has been the host of the Conrad Rehling Invitational since 2002.
The Tigers own three tournament victories this year, having won the Radrick Farms Intercollegiate, the Memphis Intercollegiate, and the Missouri Bluffs Challenge during the fall season. They also have a second-place finish that came at the Rice Intercollegiate last month, which opened the spring 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 has finished in the top 10 in four of the Tigers' six tournaments and in the top five in three of the six, the most on the team in both categories. Thomas owns two top five finishes while Shiels has a pair of top 10's. The St. Croix Collegiate Classic this past weekend was the first tournament of the year in which Memphis failed to have at least one top 10 finisher.
Fortin-Simard, who did not shoot a single round at or under par in St. Croix, the first time that has happened to him all year, still leads the Tigers with a 72.4 stroke average. Shiels, who was the Tigers' top finisher at St. Croix, is second at 72.9. Though he has not played in the last two tournaments, Justin Miers is third in stroke average at 72.92. Thomas is fourth at 73.1.
Memphis individuals own six rounds of below 70 this year, four of which came in Missouri, including the lowest round of the year, a 65 by Shiels, which was also the lowest in relation to par at six-under. Tiger individuals have put together 22 subpar rounds over their six tournaments. As a team, Memphis has four rounds below par out of 17.
Starting Lineup for Conrad Rehling Invitational
(Number of starts in parenthesis)
1. Keven Fortin-Simard (7)
2. Andy Shiels (7)
3. Ian Rochester (4)
4. Robbie Greenwell (3)
5. Justin Miers (5)
- Clayton Ellis will compete as an individual
- Keven Fortin-Simard and Andy Shiels are making their seventh starting lineup appearance in as many tournaments. They are now the only two players to start in every tournament.
- Ian Rochester will be making his fourth straight appearance in the starting lineup. This will be his fifth tournament of the year, as he also competed as an individual in the Memphis Intercollegiate.
- Robbie Greenwell will be making his second straight appearance in the starting lineup and his third start overall.
- Justin Miers returns to the starting lineup after not qualifying for the Tigers' first two spring tournaments. He was in the lineup for all four fall tournaments.
- Clayton Ellis will compete as an individual. He has been a part of the starting lineup in three tournaments, the most recent coming at the Rice Intercollegiate to open the spring season. The only other tournament that the Tigers have had players compete as individuals was the Memphis Intercollegiate.
- This will be the second straight tournament that the Tigers will start four freshmen. With the addition of Miers, a junior transfer, all five members of the starting lineup are newcomers to the team this year.
Nothing Under Par a First
For the first time this year, not a single Memphis golfer was able to put together either a round of par or below par in the final round of the St. Croix Collegiate Classic. In the 16 previous rounds over their six tournaments, at least one Tiger golfer had either a par or subpar round.
Final Round Charge Absent
For only the second time this year, Memphis did not shoot its lowest team total in the final round of a tournament. The only other time that the Tigers did not have their best round in the final round was in their first tournament of the year, the Radrick Farms Intercollegiate, when their best round was the second.
Memphis has had to rally from a deficit entering the final round to win in all three of its tournament victories, and came just one stroke shy of doing the same at another. Listed below is Memphis' place and deficit entering the final round in its tournaments along with the Tigers' finish and margin of victory or deficit at the end of the tournaments.
Tournament Entering Final Round After Final Round
Michigan 2nd, 2 shots back T1st, 7 shots ahead
Memphis 2nd, 4 shots back 1st, 7 shots ahead
Missouri 3rd, 2 shots back 1st, 9 shots ahead
Wilmington 11th, 26 shots back 11th, 30 shots back
Rice T4th, 6 shots back 2nd, 1 shot back
St. Croix 10th, 16 shots back 10th, 18 shots back
Feeling Not So Subpar
Memphis golfers had just two subpar rounds out of a possible 15 at the St. Croix Intercollegiate, the fewest of any tournament this year. For the year, that gives the Tigers 22 rounds of below par out of 85 competitive rounds from the starting lineups, or 25.9 percent. Tiger golfers also have had seven rounds of even par, meaning 34 percent of all Memphis individual rounds have been either at or below par.
Shiels Sets School and Course 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.
Shiels also set a course record at the Missouri Bluffs Golf Club with his final round of six-under 65. That round is also the second-lowest round in school history and lowest by a Memphis golfer this year.
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. There are a fixed number of teams from each region that are guaranteed a berth in the NCAA Regionals, with remainder of berths coming from at-large teams and automatic berths from conference champions. 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 sixth 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 has had two freshmen, Keven Fortin-Simard and Andy Shiels, in its lineup for all five tournaments this year, has a relative strength ranking of 369.389 out of a possible 1000 and Fortin-Simard and Shiels are averaging a combined 72.25 strokes per round. The freshmen have been ranked no lower than seventh for the entire year and were ranked first in the first rankings that came out following Memphis' first tournament.
Duo Ranked in Golfstat Cup Top 250
As of the latest rankings, two Memphis golfers are ranked in the top 250 standings for the Golfstat Cup. Keven Fortin-Simard is ranked #123, 3.466 strokes out of first place in adjusted average at 72.35. Andy Shiels came in at #220, 3.996 strokes out of first at 72.88.
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 is currently ranked eighth in the country in par three scoring with a 3.15 average. The Tigers are also ranked 9th in the country in fairways hit at .726. Individually, Keven Fortin-Simard is ranked first in the country in par three scoring at 2.92. He is also ranked eighth in putts on greens at 1.759.
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. Currently, the Tigers are ranked 34th in the Golfweek rankings and 47th in the Golfstat 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 GCAA Bridgestone Coaches' Top 25 but is unranked in the GolfWorld poll.
Three Straight a First
For the first time in the history of the program, Memphis won three straight tournaments this past 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 which 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.
Thomas Named C-USA Golfer of the Month
Senior Allan Thomas was named the Conference USA Golfer of the Month for the month of October. During that month, Thomas had a pair of top five finishes, including a first place finish at the Memphis Intercollegiate where he was the only player to shoot under par in the event. He also finished fifth at the Missouri Bluffs Challenge and was the top Tiger finisher at the Landfall Tradition.
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
Alabama: The host Crimson Tide, who are ranked 24th by Golfweek, 27th by Golfstat, and are receiving votes in the other two polls, come into their own tournament off a 12th place finish at the Puerto Rico Classic and a second place finish at the Mercedes Benz Intercollegiate to start their spring season. They also have a second and a third place finish from the fall season. Thomas Hagler is the team's leader in stroke average at 71.9 while Mark Harrell is a close second at 72.1. Each owns nine rounds of below par this year.
Finishes: Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate (East Tennessee State) - T7th of 15
Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate (Vanderbilt) - 3rd of 15
Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate (Alabama) - 6th of 12
Coca-Cola Tournament of Champions (Tennessee) - 2nd of 15
University Club Intercollegiate (LSU) - 5th of 14
Mercedes Benz Intercollegiate (North Florida) - 2nd of 17
Puerto Rico Classic (Purdue) - 12th of 18
College of Charleston: The Cougars are coming off a 12th place finish at the Seminole Invitational this week. Their best finish was an eighth place finish in their first tournament of the year. Dennis McCollum leads the Cougars in stroke average at 74.31 and he has one top 10 finish. Kellen Altman is second at 74.85. They are the only two golfers to start in every event this year for the Cougars.
Finishes: Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate (Vanderbilt) - 8th of 15
Stonebridge Invitational (SMU) - 15th of 16
Gary Koch Cleveland Golf Intercollegiate (Florida) - 15th of 15
University Club Intercollegiate (LSU) - 14th of 14
SunTrust Gator Invitational (Florida) - 15th of 15
Seminole Intercollegiate (Florida State) - 12th of 12
Georgia State: The Panthers will have had just two days off when they tee off in the first round after returning from a tournament in Puerto Rico that they hosted and finished third. They are currently ranked 30th by Golfstat, 23rd by Golfweek, and 21st in both the coaches' poll and the GolfWorld poll. They have one tournament title and five top five finishes as a team. Ty Harris is the team's leader in scoring average at 72.1 while Joel Sjoholm is second at 72.4.
Finishes: Radrick Farms Intercollegiate (Michigan) - 4th of 14
Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate (Vanderbilt) - 1st of 15
Gary Koch Cleveland Golf Intercollegiate (Florida) - 2nd of 15
Nelson Invitational (Stanford) - 3rd of 16
Hooters Collegiate/Match Play Championship - T7th of 16
SunTrust Gator Invitational (Florida) - 6th of 15
Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate (North Florida) - T12th of 17
Hyatt Plantational Club Intercollegiate (Georgia State ) - 3rd of 9
Jacksonville State: The Gamecocks have struggled this season after making it all the way to NCAA Regionals last year and coming five strokes shy of qualifying for the NCAA Championship. Their best finish this year is a sixth place showing. Gamecock golfers have just two individual top 10 finishes, one of which came from Patricio Cozzoli at the Mission Inn Collegiate Classic when he finished second.
Finishes: Raising Cane Classic (Southern Miss) - 7th of 16
Mission Inn Collegiate Classic (Winthrop) - 7th of 20
Sonic/Chattanooga Intercollegiate (Chattanooga) - 6th of 13
Fall Beach Classic (South Alabama) - 10th of 12
UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate (UCF) - 14th of 18
Tulane Invitational (Tulane) - 12th of 14
Michigan: This will be the second tournament of the spring for the Wolverines, who will be competing with Memphis for the third time this year. Their best finish of the year was a sixth place showing at the Northern Intercollegiate. They finished behind Memphis at the Radrick Farms Intercollegiate and two strokes ahead of the Tigers at the Landfall Tradition. Christian Vozza leads the team with a 74.5 stroke average. Michigan golfers have just three top 10 finishes this year.
Finishes: Radrick Farms Intercollegiate (Michigan) - 13th of 14
Northern Intercollegiate (Wisconsin) - 6th of 13
Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic (Duke) - 13th of 14
Big 10/Pac 10 Challenge (Oregon) - 13th of 14
Landfall Tradition (UNC-Wilmington) - 10th of 12
Puerto Rico Classic (Purdue) - 18th of 18
Michigan State: Though they did play an exhibition alumni match earlier in the spring, this is the first official spring tournament for the Spartans, who enter the tournament as the top-ranked team in the field. They are currently #7 in the Golfweek and #4 in the Golfstat rankings, and are also ranked #11 in the GolfWorld poll and #13 in the GCAA Bridgestone Coaches' Poll. They posted two tournament wins in their five fall tournaments, including one at the Landfall Tradition. They finished second at two other tournaments and third at the other. Andrew Ruthkoski leads the Spartans in scoring average at 71.8 while Matt Harmon is second at 72.0. One of those two golfers has been the top MSU finisher in each of their events. The Spartans have had two top 10 finishers in four of their five tournaments.
Finishes: Inverness Intercollegiate (Toledo) - 2nd of 13
Notre Dame Invitational (Notre Dame) - 2nd of 15
Adams Cup of Newport (Rhode Island) - 1st of 13
Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic (Duke) - T3rd of 14
Landfall Tradition (UNC-Wilmington) - 1st of 12
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs are coming off a sixth place finish at the Irish Invitational this week. Their best finish of the year was a third place showing at the Cardinal Intercollegiate. Joe Deraney leads MSU in stroke average with a 71.5 and owns three top 10 finishes. He has been the top Bulldog finisher in five of MSU's six tournaments.
Finishes: Raising Cane Classic (Southern Miss) - 6th of 15
Cardinal Intercollegiate (Louisville) - 3rd of 19
Memphis Intercollegiate (Memphis) - 6th of 16
University Club Intercollegiate (LSU) - T12th of 14
UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate (UCF) - T9th of 18
Irish Invitational (Notre Dame) - 6th of 13
Ole Miss: The Rebels are coming off an eighth place finish at the Seminole Intercollegiate this week. They own two tournament titles, the Raising Cane Classic, which was their first of the year, and the All-South Collegiate Invitational. They have finished in the top five in six of their eight tournaments. Jordan Dempsey is the team leader in stroke average at 70.7 and he owns seven top 10 and six top five finishes.
Finishes: Raising Cane Classic (Southern Miss) - 1st of 15
Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate (Vanderbilt) - T4th of 15
Memphis Intercollegiate (Memphis) - 5th of 16
Gary Koch Cleveland Golf Intercollegiate (Florida) - 6th of 15
University Club Intercollegiate (LSU) - 3rd of 14
All-South Collegiate Invitational - 1st of 18
Tulane Invitational (Tulane) - T5th of 14
Seminole Intercollegiate (Florida State) - T8th of 12
South Alabama: The Jaguars are playing their best golf of the year as they are coming off their best finish of the year, a third place finish at the Tulane Invitational two weekends ago. They have placed in the top five in two of their last three events after not even cracking the top 10 in their first three. They also have had their first two top 10 individual finishers of the year at their last two tournaments, including a second place showing by Johnny Caldwell at Tulane.
Finishes: Raising Cane Classic (Southern Miss) - 15th of 15
Memphis Intercollegiate (Memphis) - 12th of 16
Coca-Cola Tournament of Champions (Tennessee) - 13th of 15
Fall Beach Classic (South Alabama) - T5th of 12
UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate (UCF) - T7th of 18
Tulane Invitational (Tulane) - T3rd of 14
Tulane: The best finish of the year for the Green Wave came in their first tournament of the year back in September. Since then, their best finish has been a fifth place finish in their first spring tournament of the year. Chris Wheeler and Michael Thompson are the top two Green Wave golfers, averaging a 72.2 and a 72.4, respectively. Thompson owns two individual medals this year and four top five finishes while Wheeler has been in the top five in both of Tulane's spring tournaments.
Finishes: Raising Cane Classic (Southern Miss) - T2nd of 16
Memphis Intercollegiate (Memphis) - 7th of 16
Coca-Cola Tournament of Champions (Tennessee) - 12th of 15
University Club Intercollegiate (LSU) - 10th of 14
Turtle Bay Intercollegiate (Hawaii) - 10th of 19
UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate (UCF) - 5th of 18
Tulane Invitational (Tulane) - 7th of 14
UAB: The Blazers' best finish this year was a fourth place showing at the Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate during the fall season. They will be playing in their third tournament of the spring. Blazer individuals have three top 10 finishes on the year and Ryan Thomas owns two of them, which were both top five finishes. He also leads UAB in stroke average at 71.8.
Finishes: Inverness Intercollegiate (Toledo) - 12th of 13
Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate (Vanderbilt) - T4th of 15
Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate (Alabama) - 11th of 12
Coca-Cola Tournament of Champions (Tennessee) - T14th of 15
University Club Intercollegiate (LSU) - T12th of 14
SunTrust Gator Invitational (Florida) - 7th of 15
Mercedes-Benz Collegiate (North Florida) -15th of 17
Other Tournament Facts
- While Memphis played Friday-Sunday of last weekend, they will not be the team in the field with shortest rest in-between tournaments. College of Charleston, Georgia State, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss all played in tournaments that ran from Sunday-Tuesday and will have just two days off from the final round of their last tournaments to the first round of this tournament.
- Memphis has competed against seven of the other 11 teams in the field in other tournaments so far this year (number of other tournaments listed in parenthesis). Those teams are Georgia State (1), Michigan (2), Michigan State (1), Mississippi State (1), Ole Miss (1), South Alabama (1), and Tulane (1).
- When competing against these seven teams above, the Tigers are 6-2, with a win meaning they finished above and a loss below the other teams. Memphis competed against all of those seven teams during the fall season.
- The Tigers will face eight teams from this tournament in tournaments later on this spring. Those teams are College of Charleston, Georgia State, Jacksonville State, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Alabama, Tulane, and UAB.
- Three teams in the field played in last season's NCAA Regionals. Those teams are Georgia State, Jacksonville State, and UAB. Georgia State made to the NCAA Championships.
- The field features four teams that are currently ranked within the NCAA Regional threshold in their respective regions by the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Those teams are Alabama, Georgia State, Memphis, and Michigan State. Both Alabama and Georgia State are ranked ahead of Memphis in the Southeast District while Michigan State is the top ranked team in the Midwest District.
- Three teams in the field are ranked in the Top 25 in at least one poll or ranking. Those teams are Alabama, Georgia State, and Michigan State.
After playing in tournaments two consecutive weekends, Memphis will take the next two weekends off before returning to action at the LSU Spring Invitational in Baton Rouge, La. That tournament will be held Friday-Sunday, April 1-3 at the University Club.