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Eagles open play at Schenkel today
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Georgia Southern golfer Spencer Fulford, left, bumps fists with assistant coach Carter Collins after sinking a putt for birdie at 14 during the first round of the 2010 Schenkel Invitational at Forest Heights Country Club. - photo by Associated Press

Georgia Southern has had its ups, downs and rough patches on the golf course this season.

There’s no better way to shake it all away than to take a weekend off during spring break and then host one of college golf’s biggest tournaments in your own back yard.

The Eagles host the 32nd Annual Schenkel Invitational today through Sunday at Forest Heights Country Club — the perfect way to wrap up spring break.

"I was able to give the boys a few days off," said GSU coach Larry Mays about last weekend’s bye. "Some of them got out of town, got to see their folks for a couple of days and came back nice and relaxed, having eaten some of mom’s good home cooking. The main thing we’re trying to do is relax them — treat it like any other tournament."

Still, for the Eagles, it isn’t any other tournament.

Logan Blondell, one of three seniors playing for GSU, placed sixth last season at the event, and shot 6-under as a freshman to finish third individually.

He’s got one last shot at the title.

"I’ve been close before," Blondell said, "and it’s a tournament that I want to win pretty bad."

It isn’t entirely about winning. The atmosphere is part of what makes the event so special.

"The fairways are as green as I’ve seen them this time of year, the greens are absolutely perfect, and it’s been warm, and it’s probably going to firm up this weekend." said Blondell. "This time of year when everything’s blooming — the dogwoods and the azaleas — It’s gorgeous. I love it."

Blondell will play with seniors Matt Deal and Jake Ware. It will be Ware’s first time participating in the event. He played baseball for GSU until his junior year.

The rest of the team —Florian Sander and Thomas Sharkey — round out a team that spends the better part of the year looking forward to the Schenkel.

"In years past, I think some of them got too ramped up for the home tournament," said Mays. "We’ve worked on being relaxed — don’t do too much, play your game, play the course. Don’t try to over think it just because it’s the Schenkel."

Action tees off this morning at 9 a.m.


Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.