CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---The final regular season tournament of the year is upon the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's golf team as it heads to Augusta, Ga., for the Administaff Augusta State Invitational Saturday and Sunday at Forest Hills Golf Club. The 54-hole event starts with 36 holes on Saturday followed by a final 18 on Sunday.
Chattanooga finished second in last year's event firing a 23-under par total of 841 trailing only host Augusta State. All five UTC student-athletes finished par or better for the event. With the field assembled this year, the Mocs will need to be on their games again.
Nine top 50 teams are in attendance including eight in the top 32. Two top 10 programs are joined by three more in the top 25 to provide the Mocs with stiff competition.
Sophomore Stephan Jaeger leads UTC averaging 71.96 strokes per round. Jaeger is ranked No. 40 nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings Index.
Senior Derek Rende and freshman Steven Fox are having strong Spring campaigns as each boast a team-low 72.08 scoring average since the calendar turned to 2010. The duo has combined for 72 birdies in those 12 rounds.
WHO: Derek Rende. Rende is the only Mocs golfer to count in all 25 rounds this season. He is second on the team with a 73.08 stroke average. His average is a stroke better during the 2010 portion of the schedule at 72.08. He returns to the scene of one of his best collegiate events finishing second a year ago at 10-under par with rounds of 66, 69 and 71.
WHAT: Administaff Augusta State Invitational - 54 holes (36 holes First Day/18 Final). Augusta State was the runaway winner in 2009 shooting 36-under par, 13 shots ahead of Chattanooga in second. As noted, Rende came in second to ASU's Taylor Floyd.
WHEN: Saturday, April 3 through Sunday, April 4. Tee times can be found by clicking on the live scoring link to the men's golf schedule page on GoMocs.com. The first day is a shotgun start with the Mocs teeing off holes 7, 8 and 9 with Duke and Virginia Tech.
WHERE: Forest Hills Golf Club. Par 72 - 7,231 yards. Follow live scoring by clicking on the link to the men's golf schedule page on GoMocs.com.
HOW: Nine of the 15 teams entered in the Hootie at Bulls Bay are ranked in the top 50 in the country and as highly as No. 3 (Augusta State - Golfweek). Golfweek also has Illinois ranked in the top 10 at No. 8. By the Golfstat rankings, Alabama (16), South Carolina (17) and Clemson (21) round of the five schools rated in the top 25 with Chattanooga (32) joined by Tennessee (27) and Duke (30) just on the outside of it.
QUOTABLE: "We didn't get the result we wanted last week (10th at the Hootie), but we did get better I think. The season is a long process to play our best when it counts most and that's coming up quick. This is our last tournament before the championship run begins. This is when we need to start to peak." - Head Coach Mark Guhne
FIELD: Alabama, Augusta State, Chattanooga, Clemson, Coastal Carolina, Duke, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Houston, Illinois, Kent State, Lamar, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, UNC Greensboro, USC Aiken, Virginia Tech
FIELD WITH RANKINGS (Golfstat/Golfweek): Alabama (16/18), Augusta State (9/3), Chattanooga (32/30), Clemson (21/14), Coastal Carolina (63/65), Duke (30/33), Georgia Southern (65/67), Georgia State (129/126), Houston (122/125), Illinois (11/8), Kent State (44/47), Lamar (56/75), Minnesota (95/98), UNC Greensboro (101/102), South Carolina (17/17), USC Aiken (DII - 33), Tennessee (27/27), Virginia Tech (48/56)GoMocs.com is the official website of the Chattanooga Mocs. The Mocs can also be followed on their official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ChattanoogaMocs, or on Twitter, www.twitter.com/GoMocs.