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GOLF | Poppy Hills To Host Annual Saint Mary's Invitational

MORAGA, Calif. – Top college golf programs from five different athletic conferences will descend on Pebble Beach in just two months for the annual Saint Mary’s Invitational at Poppy Hills Golf Course.

Scheduled for September 14-16, the 3-day, 54-hole tournament features 10 teams ranked among the top-100 in last season’s final Golfstat national rankings and five that participated in the 2015 NCAA Championships. 

Poppy Hills, the site of last weekend's NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championships that saw seven current, future and past Saint Mary's golfers finish among the top 40 individuals, will play at par 71, 6,868 yards for the Saint Mary's Invitational.

In addition to host Saint Mary’s College, the 15 team field includes teams representing the University of Arizona, Brigham Young University, Fresno State, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Oregon State University, the University of the Pacific, the University of San Diego, San Diego State University, the University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, Texas State University, UC Davis and Washington State University.

Dating back to the inaugural event in April, 2006, the Saint Mary’s Invitational has been conducted nine of the last 10 seasons.  The first four events were held at Poppy Hills, while the last five were conducted at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside.  Team champions have included programs from Baylor, Cal, Notre Dame, Oregon and Saint Mary’s.

About Saint Mary’s Golf
Under head coach Scott Hardy, Saint Mary’s has developed one of the top men’s golf programs on the West Coast.  The Gaels have won two of the last four West Coast Conference team championships and qualified for the NCAA Championships in three of the last four years. 

A 1998 graduate of SMC, Hardy has earned WCC Coach of the Year eight times in his 15 seasons as head coach at his alma mater.  He has guided 13 different players to all-league honors and two WCC Player of the Year selections.

About Poppy Hills
Poppy Hills became the first course to be owned and operated by a golf association in the United States when the Northern California Golf Association built it to serve as its headquarters and tournament home.  Opened on June 1, 1986, the Robert Trent Jones Jr. design has since co-hosted the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from 1991 through 2009, as well as the Spalding Pebble Beach Invitational (1989, 1990, 1992, 1993) and 1991 NCAA Men’s Championships. 

Poppy Hills underwent an extensive renovation beginning in March of 2013 centered around water conservation, primarily by improving irrigation and drainage. Jones returned to Poppy Hills with his Robert Trent Jones II design firm, this time creating a firm, fast and fun course that unfolds seamlessly through the stunning Del Monte Forest.

Jones reinvented the course architecturally, restoring each hole to its natural elevation along the forest floor, softening doglegs and contours, rebuilding all 18 greens with bentgrass, eliminating rough and introducing native waste areas that reduce irrigated turf by nearly 25%.  The new Poppy Hills reopened April 4, 2014.


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