Feb. 25, 2012
Tennessee hopes to build on momentum gained from its first tournament of the spring season when the Vols begin play Sunday at the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational.
The three-day tournament takes place at Sawgrass Country Club (Par 72, 6,910 yards) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Tennessee is one of four SEC schools in this week's field, joining defending tournament champion Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi.
Tennessee has finished fifth at the John Hayt tournament each of the last three years. UT was third as recently as 2008, and the Vols' best finish there was second back in 2002.
A good tournament result this weekend would help UT continue its climb up the polls. Four teams at the John Hayt — Arkansas, LSU, host North Florida and Central Florida — are ranked inside the top 20 in the major national polls.
UT finished in a tie for fourth two weeks ago at the San Diego Intercollegiate. The Vols trailed only top-10 ranked squads Washington, Southern California and UCLA in the final standings, and thus moved up in the national rankings.
"Everyone has practiced hard the last week," Garrick Porteous said. "We've learned what we need to work on (as a team) when playing a tournament."
Porteous is coming off his best college finish, a solo second-place effort after rounds of 73, 73 and 69 left him just one stroke shy of medalist honors.
"I've played it the last couple of years," Porteous said of the John Hayt tournament. "It's quite long and quite demanding. It'll probably be blowing like it is here today (Friday), so I'm quite excited."
Vandeventer turned in his second top-10 of the season with a tie for 10th in San Diego. The junior is second on the team alongside Keddie with a 74.60 stroke average.
"Basically, we're just trying to keep the same game plan," Vandeventer said. "We know the Ponte Vedra tournament is going to be pretty windy like it was last year, so we've prepared for that as best we can.
Lamb has been perhaps Tennessee's most consistent performer. The transfer from Santa Clara owns a pair of top-25 finishes and is the only Vols golfer with more than one start this year who hasn't placed outside the top-40.
Rodgers turned a solid work ethic after the fall season into a lineup spot in San Diego and responded with a tie for 32nd place. It was the sophomore's first lineup appearance since fall 2010.
Keddie is eager to get back on course after struggling in his first spring start. Keddie led UT in fall scoring average at 72.75, only to card an uncharacteristic three rounds in the 80s in San Diego.
Talkington made three fall appearances in the Vols lineup, with a top finish of 25th at the Carpet Capital Collegiate. He closed the fall season by shooting 70 in the final round of the Cabo Collegiate to tie for 47th.
Other teams in this week's field in Ponte Vedra Beach are Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Furman, Jacksonville, Mercer, North Texas, TCU, Tulsa and UAB. Tennessee plays Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. on the No. 1 tee alongside Georgia Southern and UAB.
Sunday's weather calls for a 60 percent chance of showers and a high of 59. Winds will blow from the northeast at 10-15 mph.
Live stats are available each day on Golfstat.com.
The weekly golf instructional video from the UT Media Relations Department features members of the Tennessee Vols and Lady Vols. Topics being covered during the 2012 spring season include tips to help golfers improve their putting, driving, irons and bunker play, along with specialty videos on rescue shots and playing adverse conditions. All videos are being recorded at UT's new Mack & Jonnie Day Golf Practice Facility.