West Virginia University’s inaugural Big 12 golf team continues next week when Coach Sean Covich takes them to the Shoal Creek Invitational hosted by Graeme McDowell. The 54 hole event tees off Monday at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama.
The 12-team field features host UAB, along with South Carolina, Washington, College of Charleston, GRU Augusta, Houston, Mississippi State, North Florida, Ole Miss, Troy, West Virginia and Winthrop.
“We are excited to participate in this event on one of the best courses in America,” said Covich.
“This is a stacked field with some great teams, several of which participated in the NCAA national championship last year. I really like the way our guys are playing right now but more importantly, I like the way they have prepared for this tournament. I hope they embrace this opportunity to compete against some of the nation’s best teams on a major championship venue.”
Nine of those teams competed in NCAA Regionals in 2015, and three advanced to the NCAA Championship. South Carolina, Washington and UAB advanced from the Bremerton (Wash.) Regional, three claiming top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championship last season. Houston advanced from the Lubbock (Texas) Regional, taking 26th at the National Championship. After finishing second in their regional, the Gamecocks went on to take 13th at the NCAA Championships while the Blazers tied for 19th. The Huskies tied for 15th overall as the National Championship. North Florida also competed at the Lubbock Regional, while Troy and the College of Charleston qualified for the New Haven (Conn.) Regional. GRU Augusta competed at the Chapel Hill (N.C.) Regional tournament, and Mississippi attended the San Diego Regional.
South Carolina and Washington are both ranked in the top-25 entering the tournament, with the Gamecocks at No.7 and the Huskies at No. 21. Mississippi State and Winthrop round out the field, in addition to the Mountaineers.
Easton Renwick, Avery Schneider, Max Sear, Chris Williams and Tristan Nicholls make up the Mountaineers’ five-man team. Renwick led the Mountaineers at the Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational on September 15, tying for 10th place with a 71-70-67=208 (-5). Sear, Schneider and Williams previously competed at the Tiger Turning Stone Invitational earlier this year, while Nicholls will make his WVU debut.
The Shoal Creek Country Club is a par 72, 7,154-yard course. It boasts a Jack Nicklaus design and has previously played host to the PGA Championship, the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Graeme McDowell played collegiate golf at tournament host University of Alabama-Birmingham from 1999 – 2002. In that time, he amassed an impressive playing record:
- 2002 Fred Haskins Award winner for top golfer in the nation
- 2002 Golfstat Award recipient given to golfer with the lowest stroke average in the country
- Two-time PING All-American (2001 and 2002)
- Two-time Conference USA Player of the Year (2001 and 2002)
- Nine tournament victories and 24 top-10 finishes
Follow @WVUSports and @WVU_Golf on Twitter