SMU To Begin Spring Season At Puerto Rico Classic Beginning Sunday

Mustangs Look To Impress Alongside Five Top-25 Squads

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The SMU Mustangs men’s golf team will begin their spring season at the Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, on Sunday. The three-day, 54-hole event features 11 top-50 teams and the nation’s consensus top-ranked Alabama squad. SMU comes into the event receiving votes in the latest Nike/GolfWorld coaches’ poll. The Mustangs placed third in their last event, the Gifford Collegiate on Nov. 4-5.



The Puerto Rico Classic will be played on the River Course at the Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, beginning Sunday and ending Tuesday, Feb. 23-25. 15 teams will compete, including all of last year’s top nine teams. Alabama won the event by seven strokes over runner-up Oklahoma last season. SMU placed third, while Georgia and Georgia Tech rounded out the top five. Alabama has won the last three events, dating back to 2011. All three rounds will feature a shotgun start.



Fifteen squads will compete at the Puerto Rico Classic, including five ranked in the Nike/GolfWorld Top 25 – Alabama (1), Georgia Tech (2), Georgia (5), Oklahoma (12) and Virginia Tech (13). 11 teams are ranked in the top 50 of the GolfWeek/Sagarin rankings – Alabama (1), Georgia Tech (4), Georgia (6), Oklahoma (13), Virginia Tech (14), Clemson (31), SMU (32), Northwestern (33), Purdue (43), North Carolina (48) and Missouri (49). Five players are ranked in the top 10 of the GolfWeek/Sagarin individual rankings, including the top two – Trey Mullinax (Alabama) and Joey Garber (Georgia). Robby Shelton (Alabama) is seventh, Bryson Dechambeau (SMU) is eighth and Ollie Schiederjans (Georgia Tech) is 10th.



Bryson Dechambeau carded a 64 during the final round to secure a third-place finish for both himself and SMU at the Gifford Collegiate at Pelican Hill. Senior Harry Higgs tied for fourth to give the Mustangs two top-five finishers. Dechambeau tallied six birdies in his bogeyless round to record one of just two rounds of 64 in the event. Dechambeau has now placed in the top five in all four fall tournaments. Higgs began the day tied for the lead at eight-under par, but dropped out of the lead towards the middle of the round and ultimately fell to fourth. The result gives him two top fives this season. Ryan Burgess also earned a top-20 result, tying for 18th at three-over par.



Bryson Dechambeau was named to the Ben Hogan Award Watch List on Feb. 5. The honor is given annually to the most outstanding collegiate amateur golfer of the year.  The most prestigious award in men’s college golf, the Ben Hogan Award is presented annually to the top men’s NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or NJCAA college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the past 12-month period. The Ben Hogan Award Selection Committee, which votes during each stage of the process, is com­prised of leaders in professional, amateur and collegiate golf. “This is the most prestigious award in college and amateur golf,” SMU Head Coach Josh Gregory said. “First of all, he is very deserving of being named to the Ben Hogan watch list. I have never coached anyone with a better work ethic and someone who is this committed to becoming his best. I know this will motivate him even more to continue to get better, and when he adds a few wins to his resume he will hopefully have a great chance to win this award.” Dechambeau is currently ranked 16th in the world according to the World Amateur Golf Ranking. The Clovis, Calif., native finished in the top five in all four tournaments he played in the fall, including three third-place results.



“We are very excited to get going, especially against such a strong field. It will be great to compete again and see where we stand after the winter break. Fortunately all seven of our guys are competing in our first two events of the spring, which is huge for such a young team. We are looking forward to getting off to a good start to prepare for the postseason.”

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