Golfers set to open season at Gopher Invitational
WAYZATA, Minn. - For the fourth straight season, and sixth time overall, the Lamar University men's golf team will open its fall season by playing in the Gopher Invitational hosted by Minnesota at Spring Hill Golf Club.
The first and second rounds will be played consecutively on Sunday in the 54-hole event, beginning with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Monday's final round will also begin with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start on the par-72, 7,020-yard Tom Fazio designed course.
Lamar is coming off a 25th place finish in the 2012 NCAA Championships, its sixth ever trip to the national tournament. Head coach Brian White, who picked up his third Southland Conference Coach of the Year honor after leading the Cardinals to the 2012 SLC title, lost three outstanding seniors off last year's team.
The cupboard is not bare for the Cardinals as 2012 Southland Conference Freshman of the Year Luke Jerling returns for his second season. Jerling was second on the team with a 74.0 stroke average, took home medalist honors at the Wolfpack Spring Open and had top 10 finishes at the Southland Conference Tournament and the NCAA Greensboro Regional.
Redshirt senior Erik Knudsen is back for his third season after averaging 76.2 strokes per round last year. Knudsen helped the Cardinals place fourth in Greensboro and advance to the NCAA Championships as he closed with a season-low 71 to tie for 52nd at the regional.
Junior Stephane Dubois begins his first full season for the Cardinals after transferring from Wisconsin at the semester break last year. Dubois tied for fifth at the Canadian Amateur over the summer and began his collegiate career with a tie for 18th at the 2010 Gopher Invitational.
Lamar welcomes VCU transfer Marc Dobias for one season. A native of Switzerland, Dobias led the Rams with a 73.4 strokes per round scoring average on his way to First-Team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors.
Lamar's fifth golfer this weekend will be sophomore Gustaf Burenstam who played in six tournaments as a true freshman with a 75.1 stroke average. Burenstam, who will be playing in the Gopher Invitational for the first time, had a top 10 finish last year at Notre Dame's tournament.
This year's field at the Gopher Invitational is the largest in the tournament's eight year history with 15 teams scheduled to play. Defending champion Arkansas is back to defend its title under the direction of former Lamar head coach Brad McMakin.
Arizona State, California, Charlotte, Iowa, Kent State, Memphis, New Mexico, North Texas, Oklahoma, Penn State, SMU and St. John's University (Minn.) round out the field. Twelve of the participating schools finished the 2011-12 season ranked in the top 80 by Golfweek, including Lamar which finished at 49th.
Lamar placed 10th in last year's event and was fifth in 2010. The Cardinals won the 2007 Gopher Invitational in their second appearance with former star Casey Clendenon tying for individual medalist honors.
Kevin Hesbois tied for third last season at 1-over-par to pace the Cardinals as the two-time all-conference performer finished just three strokes behind medalist Chris Brant of Iowa. Knudsen tied for 32nd at 12-over-par and Jerling tied for 38th at 14-over-par in last year's tournament.