LAWRENCE, KAN. -
The University of Kansas men's golf team opens its 2007-08 season on Sept. 10-11 at the St. Mary's Invitational in Pebble Beach, Calif. The tournament will be conducted at Poppy Hills Golf Club which also serves host to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the PGA Tour.
The Jayhawks will feature six newcomers from last year's squad which finished 24th at the NCAA Central Regional. The team will also include five letterwinners from last year, four will be competing at the St. Mary's Invitational.
"We are very excited to get the season underway," said head coach Kit Grove. "It will be very interesting to see what kind of team we have after having to replace both Gary Woodland and Tyler Docking."
Much of the burden of the loss of Woodland and Docking will fall on the shoulders of the five returning players. Junior Walt Koelbel will try to lead the way after finishing his sophomore campaign in fine fashion by placing ninth at the Big 12 Championship. Koelbel emerged late in the spring season, participating in four of the last five events.
Sophomore Patrick Roth will return to the Jayhawk lineup after sitting out much of the spring season with injury. Roth ranked third on the team in scoring average at 75.53.
Junior Zach Pederson will look to build off his sophomore season's results which were highlighted by his third place finish at the Windon Memorial Classic. Pederson was third on the team in starts with nine.
Sophomore Bobby Knowles will try to duplicate his strong results from last fall in this year's fall portion of the schedule. Knowles appeared in all five tournaments last fall, with his best finish coming with a 23rd place finish at the Kansas Invitational.
Freshman Nate Barbee, hailing from Dakota Dunes, SD, will make his Jayhawk debut at the St. Mary's Invitational. Barbee racked up six golf letters in high school.
"It will be a great experience opening the season at such a great venue like Poppy Hills," said Grove. "Playing in the Monterrey Peninsula is about as good as it can get in the golf world."
Poppy Hills will present a challenge for the 18-team field. The course is a par-72 layout that covers 6,833 yards. Fellow Big 12 teams Baylor, Colorado and Nebraska will also be competing in the event.
"We will have a little experience this week with four of our five players returning from last year," said Grove. "We will just try to get better week after week."
Play will begin on Sept. 10 with 36-holes being conducted. It will then be followed by a single round on Sept. 11. Check back to kuathletics.com for a complete recap and results.