#ST Mary’s College men’s golf team will travel farther than any other in the 19-team field for this week’s White Sands Bahamas NCAA Invitational at the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island, Bahamas.
#And among the things the California team will carry to the event is the label as the favourite in the field.
#The 54-hole invitational is scheduled from Friday through Sunday (October 20-22).
#The Gaels are the only team entered to be ranked in the top 100 by the latest Golfweek Sagarin Rankings, but they will likely get a stiff challenge from North Texas and Santa Clara, which is serving as the host school for the event.
#Jacksonville State could also make a run for the title, behind senior Erik Jansson of Sweden, the top-ranked player in the field.
#“Our players are looking forward to this week,” said St Mary’s head coach Scott Hardy, who is in his 24th season at the helm. “It will be a challenge to play in different conditions than we are used to. It’s really too early to judge how good teams are, but if we play well, we’ll be hard to beat.”
#The Gaels are led by juniors Kristian Bressum of Denmark and Connor Reis of Claremont, California. “They both have turned the corner this year,” he said.
#Santa Clara coach Andrew Larkin’s team is younger, but he thinks they are just as talented. His standouts are freshmen J.P. Odland of Tiburon, Calif., and Jeffrey Kwak of La Mirada, Calif.
#“We are the host school, but it’s 75 percent coaching and 25 percent hosting,” said Larkin. “This is new for my team. Half of the team has never been out of the country. We even had three guys who needed to get passports for this trip.”
#Other teams competing are Georgia State, North Alabama, Southern Illinois, Wichita State and Wofford. This is the fourth year for the annual golf tournament, which was previously played at the Ocean Club Golf Course in 2019, 2021 and 2022. Houston, Mississippi and Duke are the past men’s winners over the 7,159-yard layout designed by past major champion Tom Weiskopf.
#For more coverage of the 2023 White Sands Bahamas NCAA Invitational, follow @WhiteSandsBah on social media and use the following hashtags: #WhiteSandsBahamas and #WhiteSandsNCAA or visit WhiteSandsBahamas.com