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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie men’s golf hosts tournament with four ranked opponents

Greg+Yates+helped+A%26amp%3BM+place+fifth+out+of+13+teams+in+the+Valspar+Collegiate+Invitational.

Greg Yates helped A&M place fifth out of 13 teams in the Valspar Collegiate Invitational.

Head coach J.T. Higgins and the Texas A&M men’s golf team jump back out onto the links this Easter weekend, but this time they will stay in-state.

The Aggies will host the ninth edition of the Aggie Invitational Saturday and Sunday at their home course at Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas.

“This is home,” Higgins said. “We play out here almost every day and we feel like we know every blade of grass and what every putt does, and where to hit it and where to miss, and everything that is important about playing good golf. So, we’re very comfortable here and we really want to play well on our home golf course.”

The Traditions course — a par-72, 7,146-yard track with Bermuda fairways and rough and TifDwarf Bermuda greens — was designed by former PGA golfer and 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus and his son, Jack Nicklaus II.

The Traditions Club, opened in 2004, has been selected over the years as a host site for NCAA Division I regional and championship events for both men’s and women’s golf, and is the announced site for the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Regional. Higgins said he believes the Invitational provides Traditions with an annual opportunity to put the spotlight on their course.

“I think Traditions takes great pride in it,” Higgins said. “It’s become their annual showcase to show off the course. It is in perfect condition right now. The greens are perfect. The fairways are really primed up, even with all of the rain we’ve had. [Golf Course Superintendent] Jesse Shulse and his staff have done an amazing job getting it ready and it’s just really going to show well this weekend.”

Twelve teams from around the country flock to southeastern Texas this weekend to compete in the event, including four of the nation’s top 25 programs. The co-defending 2014 champion No. 6 LSU, 2006 champion No. 9 Texas Tech, No. 16 Oklahoma and No. 22 California will all be on hand.

“We’re really grateful for Texas Tech,” Higgins said. “They’ve never missed the tournament and we are always happy to have them come, and they’ve played very well here. As far as the rest of the field, it’s really strong. When you look at Oklahoma, LSU, Arkansas, Cal, those teams are among the nation’s elite programs every year. So, we are really fortunate to have them here. And then you throw in some pretty cool teams visiting, you know, Michigan, Princeton, coming, Kent State comes almost every year, just some really neat golf programs from some different parts of the country that want to come down and experience Texas and our weather, Bermuda grass and hospitality.” 

However, no golf program in this weekend’s field, or in the country for that matter, has won the Invitational as many times as the Aggies, who have claimed their own event three times, including a share of last year’s title with LSU.

The spring has featured ups and downs for the A&M team, who are back on the rise with consecutive top-five team finishes and an individual medalist at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational in senior Greg Yates. This time, however, the Aggies will look to sustain and build upon their success, and a tournament on their home course might just be the trick for them to do so, Higgins said.

“We feel like we should play good here,” Higgins said. “Like I said, we know the golf course like the back of our hands and we play well here almost every day, so we expect to play well and have a great chance to win the golf tournament.” 
Both first and second round action of the 54-hole tournament will take place on Saturday, with the first groups scheduled to go off at 7:30 a.m.

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  • Senior Greg Yates earned second-team All-SEC honors for his play last season.

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