SMU Set To Compete At The National Invitational Tournament In Arizona

Go smu! Alex Higgs
Go smu!
Alex Higgs
Go smu!

March 13, 2014

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Arizona will again host the National Invitational Tournament at the Omni Tuscon National from March 14-16. 18 holes will be played each day with a par of 72. Each round will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. CT. Both the 2013 team champion and individual medalist will return to defend their titles, with New Mexico and TCU's Julien Brun again competing.

The tournament field features 14 teams, four of which are ranked in the Nike/GolfWorld Top 25 Coaches Poll - No. 2 California, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 10 Texas A&M and the N.I.T. defending champion, No. 19 New Mexico. Three more teams - SMU, TCU and UNLV - are all receiving votes in the poll. The field also includes 12 players ranked in the top 50 of the GolfWeek/Sagarin individual rankings, including eighth-ranked Julien Brun of TCU, the N.I.T. individual medalist from last season. Wyndham Clark (No. 3) of Oklahoma State is the highest-ranked participant, and is followed by No. 4 Brandon Hagy (California), No. 14 Ben Crancer (Texas A&M), No. 15 Bryson Dechambeau (SMU), No. 19 Gavin Green (New Mexico), No. 22 Joel Stalter (California), No. 24 Ian Davis (Oklahoma State), No. 35 Grant Forrest (San Diego), No. 42 Jordan Niebrugge (Oklahoma State), No. 47 Erik Oja (Arizona) and No. 49 Kurt Kitayama (UNLV).

The SMU Mustangs beat their second round score by nine strokes and maintained their position in the field, tying for fifth overall after the final round at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate on Tuesday. Bryson Dechambeau, Harry Higgs and Austin Smotherman all posted top-20 finishes.
Dechambeau recorded the second-best round of the day, shooting two-under par at 69. The score propelled him up to 11th on the leaderboad. Smotherman began the day inside the top 10 and was as high as third on the leaderboard, but the sophomore ultimately dropped to 20th. Higgs carded a one-over round to tie for 12th. Ryan Burgess placed 29th after going two-over par over the final round, while Andrew Buchanan carded a 75. Alex Higgs was the top-placing individual at the tournament, also tying for 29th. Maxime Blandin posted his best round of the event on Tuesday, carding a 77.

Bryson Dechambeau tied for third at last year's N.I.T., carding a six-under 210 over the three rounds. Harry Higgs also recorded a top-15 result, tying for 14th at two-under par. Austin Smotherman was the third-highest finisher for SMU at four-over, with Ryan Burgess being the only other current Mustang to compete last season. Burgess finished seven-over par as an individual in the event.

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.

Harry Higgs is SMU's lone senior for the 2013-14 season, and he is looking to make it his best season yet. The Overland Park, Kan., native has already posted two top-five finishes and is currently ranked in the top 100 in the GolfWeek/Sagarin rankings., as well as a career-low round of 66 twice at the Gifford Collegiate at Pelican Hill, where he placed third.

"This is one of our favorite trips of the year against an incredible field. We are getting close to playing really well, we just need to minimize our careless mistakes and big numbers. Hopefully we can get into contention and finish off our rounds."