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GOLF | Gaels Ready to Host Saint Mary's Invitational

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.— The Saint Mary’s men’s golf team will conclude its fall season by hosting the annual Saint Mary’s Fall Invitational on Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 24-26, down at Poppy Hills Golf Club.

First opened in 1986 as the Hilltop Course, Poppy Hills was recently home to the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from 1991-2009. The renovated Robert Trent Jones designed course will configure to play at 6,927 yards for a par 71.

“Our team always looks forward to hosting this event,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Scott Hardy. “It is our one chance each year to showcase our program. We pride ourselves on making the event something the participating student-athletes will remember and enjoy. We put a lot of our resources into this tournament and it is a pleasure to give back to the teams that host us throughout the year.”

Along with the Gaels, the 14-team field includes Arizona, Fresno State, Gonzaga, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Texas State, Toledo, UC Santa Barbara and Washington State. 14 players will also be a part of the field playing as individuals.

Paired with SDSU and Toledo in the opening round, the first SMC player will tee off the first hole at 8:30 a.m. The Gaels will also send off four to play as individuals, with the first player set to tee off from the 10th tee at 9:20 a.m.

“The key to playing well at Poppy Hills is understanding the terrain of the course and being able to control your ball into the greens,” said Hardy. “Getting caught on the short side of the hole location makes scoring very difficult. Not forcing shots on the tougher holes will give you scoring opportunities on the scorable ones.”

Through the first four tournaments of the fall season, the Gaels have played well recording top-10 finishes in all events thus far. SMC finished in second at the USF Olympic Invitational and the Nick Watney Invite, while recording a tied-8th finish at the Inverness and a third place rank at the recent Alister MacKenzie Invitational.

At the Alister MacKenzie Invite, the Gaels recorded their two lowest rounds of the season with a 270 (-14) and 274 (-10) in the first two rounds of the tournament. Connor Blick matched his career-low round 66 en route to a tied-6th finish. Despite the steady play, Hardy and his group are hungry for the season’s first team victory.

“The final event of the fall season is the one we remember all winter as we prepare for the spring,” explained Hardy. “The fall season is always very important. It is the baseline for your season and where you end in the fall sets up your spring.”

Fans can follow live scores on the tournament page via Golfstat. Be sure to follow @SMCGaels for the latest news and updates from Poppy Hills GC. 


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