With the 31st Annual Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational set to tee-off this Friday, the first guest on Tuesday's “Mornings unPhiltered” was Georgia Southern University Golf Coach Larry Mays.
The Schenkel golf event, held at Forest Heights Golf Course off Country Club Road in Statesboro, consists of three days of team and individual stroke play competition Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a practice round on Thursday. Mays said the southern hospitality offered by event organizers and Statesboro volunteers is what makes the Schenkel such a top-notch contest.
In previous years, Mays said tournament directors have invited teams from all over the country, but this year director's went with a southern flair with the majority of teams concentrated in the Southeast. In addition to host Georgia Southern, the following teams will be playing over the weekend — Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi, North Florida, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and 2009 team champion South Carolina.
There will be individual and team awards, with the best four scores taken from each team at the end of each day added together to determine the team competition winner. The 2009 individual winner Matt Hill, from N.C. State, will be seeking to defend his title.
Tournament play starts at 9 a.m. Friday.
In 1971, Statesboro businessman Charlie Robbins honored Chris Schenkel by establishing a scholarship in his name for golfers at Georgia Southern. He also started the Schenkel Intercollegiate Golf Tournament, which has featured most if not all of the nation's top college golf teams since its inception.
The GSU team has nine players, but only five can be entered in the tournament. The GSU team has a brand-new golf practice facility, the Bennett-Ramsey Golf Center on Pulaski Highway, which is a three hole course and clubhouse being formally dedicated with a ribbon cutting Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Mays said this late in the season he selects the five players for competition based on their performance in other tournaments this year. Based on that assessment, Ryan Zabroske of Alpharetta, Ga., Spence Fulford of Rocky Mount, N.C., Matt Deal of Statesboro, Joe Monte, of Chantilly, Va., and Florian Sander of Austria will play in this weekend's competition.
Many of the players entered in the tournament may become the future stars of the PGA, and some of the top players are on the junior circuit right now. Mays said a few prospective student candidates who might choose to come to GSU will be in town to watch the tournament.
Admission is free to the public and player pairing sheets will be available. In addition, there will be many guides placed all around the course to advise spectators where to go to get the best views of the competition.
For tee times and other information about the tournament, see www.schenkelinvitational.com. Mays said that for those who want to keep up with live tournament scoring online, scores will be available and updated at www.golfstats.com.
“Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on statesboroherald.com and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at BoroLive.com on statesboroherald.com