MG: Sun Belt Championship opens Monday
April 20, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington opens the Sun Belt Conference Men's Golf Championship on Monday at Grand Bear Golf Course in Saucier, Miss.
The Mavericks' five-man team is Brad Mason, Jake Argento, Joss Gosling, Cash Wilkerson and Zach Galliford. UTA is competing in the Sun Belt Championship for the first time after spending last season in the WAC.
The Mavericks are coming off a fifth-place finish at the Jim West Intercollegiate, their best showing of the season.
"I feel we have the most confidence going into this tournament," UT Arlington coach Jay Rees said. "We are focused to win this Championship.
"We need a good short game and putting week. If we eliminate the big numbers we will have a chance to win this Championship. I'm looking forward to a good week."
The 54-hole tournament runs through Wednesday. Monday's opening round begins at 8:00 a.m. with a split tee start and the ten teams will continue to tee off until 9:21 a.m.
This will mark the first time in five years that the league's annual championship will not be contested in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
UL Monroe enters the championship as the team that has the lowest scoring average in the league, with a 290.83 team figure, Georgia State ranks second (291.69), South Alabama is third (292.45) and UL Lafayette (293.90) are all within three shots of the Warhawks.
Matias Calderon of UALR has the lowest scoring average in the league at 72.32 with USA's just behind him at 72.45. Troy freshman Jarred Bettcher is third with a scoring average of 72.90.
USA's Lane Hulse is the defending tournament champion and he returns to defend his title in his senior season. He has shot 75 or lower in six straight rounds and has four top-20 finishes this season.
The event includes three rounds in three days, with play beginning at 8 a.m. Monday at the par-72, 7,072-yard course. Tuesday's second round will also start at 8 a.m., while play the last day is scheduled for a 7:30 a.m. start with split tees.
Ten teams will be competing for the Sun Belt championship, including four in the top 80 nationally. Georgia State is the highest-rated school in the field, entering the week 44th in the most recent Golfstat rankings, with USA next at No. 52; Troy (74th) and UL Lafayette (77th) are the others.