HATTIESBURG, Miss. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer men's golf team opens its 2013-14 season on Monday, competing against 14 other teams at the Sam Hall Intercollegiate, hosted by Southern Mississippi at the Hattiesburg Country Club.
The two-day event is slated for a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. and will feature 36 holes of play on Monday and 18 holes on Tuesday. The Bears are joined by Arkansas State, Houston Baptist, Jackson State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Rice, Sam Houston State, South Alabama, Southeastern Louisiana, host Southern Miss, Tennessee Tech and Texas-San Antonio at the tournament.
Representing Mercer at the tournament are a trio of experienced upperclassmen and a pair of newcomers. Senior James Beale, redshirt junior Hans Reimers and junior Trey Rule are joined by freshmen Sean Smothers and Justin Connelly at this week's event. Mercer redshirt sophomore Michael Hirthler is also in Hattiesburg and will compete as an individual.
"We got two freshmen in the lineup, so we're excited for them," Mercer head coach Steve Bradley said. "I'm anxious to see how they'll play their first collegiate event. This course esets up well, it's a combination of our two home courses and I think the guys are prepared and confident."
Six of the participating teams, including Mercer, finished last year inside the nation's top-100 teams as ranked by Golfweek. Mississippi (28), South Alabama (52), Mississippi (77), Mercer (78), Southeast Louisiana (79) and Texas-San Antonio (98) were among the outlet's top-100 squads, while Southern Miss (110), Sam Houston State (121), Louisiana-Lafayette (132), Houston Baptist (132) finished inside the top-150.
Last year, Mercer finished sixth or better in seven of ten tournaments, including three such finishes during the fall portion of the year. Beale and Rule competed in all 10 events for Bradley, while Rule made the lineup in nine of 10 tournaments.
"I honestly think we have a chance to win this week and I'd be disappointed if didn't. We will look for leadership out of Hans, Trey and Rule, hopefully they can help out the younger guys.
Live scoring of the Sam Hall Intercollegiate is available at www.GolfStat.com.