Feb. 6, 2004
The Tennessee men's golf team returns to Florida to compete in the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship in Jacksonville, Feb. 8-10. Sawgrass Golf and Country Club (par 72, 6,985 yards) once again plays host to the event. This marks the Vols 10th straight appearance in what is considered the first major college tournament of the spring.
Tennessee coach Jim Kelson looks forward to once again competing in one of college golf's most prestigious tournaments.
"We look forward to competing in the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate [Championship] every year," Kelson said. "This tournament is a highlight of our schedule, played on a very demanding course. This year's field is probably the finest in the tournament's history. We are excited to be competing against some of the finest golf program's in the country."
The tournament features some of the top teams in the nation, including No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Georgia, No. 8 Augusta State, No. 10 North Carolina, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Texas, No. 16 Duke, No. 22 Northwestern and No. 24 Kentucky.
Other teams competing at Sawgrass are Auburn, Florida State, LSU, North Carolina State, North Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Leading the way for the Big Orange is David Skinns. Skinns is coming off an impressive finish at the Suntrust Gator Invitational, where he claimed second place with scores of 72-68-70--210. Skinns leads the team in stroke average with a 72.00.
Ross McGowan, who has competed in every tournament for UT this season, posting a scoring average of 73.00 with five rounds of par or better and one top 10 finish, will be playing in the second position.
Lloyd Campbell steps in at the No. 3 position for the Vols. Campbell competed as an individual last week at the Suntrust Gator Invitational, finishing tied for 27th. He has a scoring average of 75.89.
Rounding out the starting five is Jonathan Mount and John Scott Rattan. Mount will be competing at No. 4, while Rattan is at No. 5. Mount has competed in three tournaments for the Vols, posting a scoring average of 73.78. Rattan is second on the team in scoring average with a 72.47, with two top 10 finishes and nine rounds of par or better.
"This is a great opportunity for us to prove to ourselves we can compete in a tournament with such high caliber teams," Kelson said. "Certainly this team is capable of competing against the nation's finest."
Last season's event saw the Vols record an eighth place finish with a 287-298-292--877. Ian Parnaby led UT by notching a 12th-place finish with a scorecard of 69-77-69--215.
The tournament is a 54-hole format, that will be played over three days. A link to live scoring will be available at UTSports.com.