Feb. 25, 2011
Tennessee's search for its best finish of the season starts Sunday at an ideal location.
UT is part of a 15-team field assembled for the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. This year marks Tennessee's fifth straight appearance in the event and the Vols have finished third, fifth and fifth the last three seasons.
Tennessee's best showing this year is fifth at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate in Jonesborough. The Vols were sixth in their most recent outing, the Battle at the Beach two weeks ago in Southern California.
Head coach Jim Kelson's lineup for this week's three-day event consists of Jay Vandeventer, Danny Keddie, Garrick Porteous, Robin Wingardh and Darren Renwick. Brandon Rodgers is competing as an individual.
Vandeventer Playing Well
Vandeventer is coming off his best collegiate finish, a tie for 10th in the California tournament. The Bristol sophomore shot 70-70-73 to lower his scoring average to 74.33, second on the team. He also is tied for second with four rounds of par or better.
Keddie made a big first impression wearing the UT colors, tying for 10th in his collegiate debut at the Battle at the Beach. The freshman shot 70-69-74 to score for the Vols in all three rounds.
Porteous tied for 17th two weeks ago, his best finish this season and best overall since his last trip to California at the NCAA San Diego Regional (14th). The junior matched his season-low round with an opening 69 at the Beach and carries a 74.33 scoring mark.
Wingardh saw his streak of top-20 finishes this year snapped at four with a 28th-place effort in California. The senior captain rallied for a closing 68 at that event and still leads the Vols in scoring average (72.00) and rounds of par or better (8).
Renwick started the Battle at the Beach 70-71 before falling to a tie for 35th. Still, that is the junior's second-highest finish this season and a sign that his game may be coming together. Renwick owns a 75.07 scoring average for five tournaments.
Rodgers is appearing in his fourth collegiate tournament and first as an individual. The Farragut freshman placed 30th at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in September and carries a 78.44 scoring average.
Vols Face Six from SEC
This week's tourney offers Tennessee a good look at its Southeastern Conference competition. The Vols are only 4-6-1 against league foes this year but did finish two positions better than Arkansas at the recent Battle at the Beach. Arkansas also is in the John Hayt field, along with Auburn, Florida, LSU and Mississippi.
North Florida is the host and defending champion at Sawgrass Country Club (Par 72, 6,962 yards). The remainder of the field consists of UAB, Central Florida, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville, Mercer, TCU and Tulsa.
Tennessee enters the weekend ranked 41st nationally by Golfweek/Sagarin and 46th by Golfstat. Eight more of the 15 teams are ranked among the nation's top-50 according to both Golfweek/Sagarin and Golfstat (rankings in parentheses): Florida (3-2), Auburn (8-13), LSU (10-7), Arkansas (18-20), Central Florida (34-29), TCU (38-38), North Florida (42-43) and Tulsa (43-36).
UT begins play Sunday at 8:45 a.m. Eastern time on the No. 1 tee, alongside Arkansas and Auburn. The forecast for Sunday calls for partly cloudy skies and a high in the upper 70s, with winds no stronger than 10 mph.
Live scoring is available on UTsports.com, via Golfstat.com.