Oregon’s men’s golf team will begin its run at defending the school’s first national championship when its starts off the 2017 season at the Arizona Intercollegiate on Jan. 23 and 24. The tournament will be played at Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson, Arizona.
The Arizona Intercollegiate is a 17-team event that includes the Oregon Ducks, BYU, Denver, Gonzaga, Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, South Dakota State, Southern Illinois and No. 15 Texas A&M. Joining the Ducks from the Pac-12 will be Arizona, California, UCLA, Washington and Washington State. The Ducks and Texas A&M are the only two teams ranked in the Golf Coaches Association of America coaches poll participating in this event, with the Ducks ranked No. 22 and Texas A&M No. 15.
“We’re excited to get some sun and warmth and play against some really good competition,” Oregon head coach Casey Martin told GoDucks.com. “The guys are really hungry to get started. We’re all ready to get back out there to defend our national championship.”
For the Ducks, they will start redshirt senior Wyndham Clark, freshman Norman XIong, redshirt sophomore Ryan Gronlund, and sophomores Edwin Yi and Sam Foust. Redshirt senior Nigel Lett will also be competing in the event but will be golfing as an individual, which means that he will get to play the course but his score will not count towards the Oregon team total. The lowest scores from four of the five other golfers competing will be used in each round for the team’s total.
After the Ducks’ three fall tournaments, Clark was ranked as the No. 1 American collegiate golfer according to the Arnold Palmer Cup Ranking in November. He was also named to the prestigious Haskins Award Watch List. The Haskins Award is given to the most outstanding male collegiate golfer.
Xiong will be making his collegiate golf tournament debut. He was the top-ranked junior golfer in the state of California’s class of 2016.
Gronlund’s highest finish was in the final tournament of the fall schedule when he tied for 12th in stroke play. Yi’s highest finish was in the opening match of the fall season, a tie for eighth at the Nike Collegiate Invitational. Foust played in his only match of the fall at the Nike Collegiate Invitational. He shot a low round of 75 and knocked in three birdies. Lett competed in all three tournaments this fall. His best performance was an 11th place finish in stroke play at the East Lake Cup.
After the Arizona Invitational, Oregon will head to Hawaii for the Amer Ari Invitational from Feb.2 through Feb. 4 for their second tournament of the 2017 season.
Follow Zak Laster on Twitter: @zlast3445