Feb. 2, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas – Rice University men’s golf opens its spring season at home as it hosts the 13th annual Rice Intercollegiate at Westwood Golf Club on February 4-5. The Owls welcome a talented 14-team field to the event, which tees off Monday at 8 a.m.
Three former team champions will attend the competition, including UTSA (2004), Sam Houston State (2007) and host Rice (2010). The squads will play 36 holes on Monday at the par-72, 7,184-yard course with the final round beginning on Tuesday morning.
Rounding out the field is Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Houston Baptist, Louisiana-Monroe, McNeese State, Missouri State, Nicholls State, North Dakota State, Stephen F. Austin State, UTPA and UMKC.
2012 champion Northwestern will not defend its team title, nor will last year’s individual medalist Zachery Fullerton (New Mexico State).
Head coach Justin Emil commented, “I’m very excited to start our season at our home golf course at a tournament we’ve prepared for since the semester began in January.”
Emil continued, “The guys have worked extremely hard to prepare for this tournament and we’re analyzed everything and have the best five ready to play. It’s an enormous opportunity for us to start our spring season with a bang. I’m pumped.”
The Owls send a starting five of Joe Beck III, Tommy Economou, James Lee, Jeff Wibawa and Brock Wilson. Additionally, Rice sends Ryan Benevides, Trey Johnson, Landon Michelson and James Ragan as individuals.
Rice finished the fall slate strong with top-10 finishes in the final three events.
According to Emil, “In our fall season, our guys improved at every event. I’m very encouraged by the progress of this group. I’m excited to see that trend continue this spring.”
The tournament is the first of five events in preparation for the Conference USA Championship on April 21-23 in Texarkana, Ark. Three of the team’s events take place in Texas while the squad will travel to West Point, Miss. in April for the Old Waverly Intercollegiate and as far as Dade, Fla. for March’s USF Invitational.