The final tune-up for postseason play was an absolute doozy, as the Rebs traveled to Birmingham to compete in the creatively named Collegiate Invitational. Half of the tournament team field was ranked in the Top 25 nationally and included most of the SEC.
For the first time in quite some time, the Rebels did not come out of the gate with heavy feet. Led by Freshmen Brett Schell, the team registered a cumulative +5 score, enough for a tie for 6th after Day 1. Schell, on a very tough day, conditions-wise, fired a -1 (70) and sat in the Top 5 individually when it was all said and done on Day 1.
The Golf Sharks kept the momentum going on moving day, finishing up the round at a team score of +11, good enough for 5th place among the 14 competing teams. Jack Gnam was the prize pony on Day 2, matching Schell’s Day 1 total with a -1 (70) of his own.
Day three saw the toughest scoring conditions of the week, and with a solid position in the standings of such an elite field, the Rebs just needed to hold their water for the final 18.
Jackson Suber did his part with a +1 round of 71 in the final frame. Veeti Mahonen and Jack Gnam were able to back up that solid score with two of their own, coming in at +2 and +3 respectively. Those efforts were good enough to hold respectable positioning in the field at a +20 total and a 6th place finish.
Individually, Jackson Suber’s solid play all week was rewarded with a T15 placement. Jack Gnam wasn’t far behind with a +6 total and a T25. Brett Schell cooled after the hot start but was able to come in at T34 for the week.
No. 4-ranked Clemson got a final day surge to separate from the field and take the team win at +2. Bryce Lewis of Tennessee took home individual medalist honors at -6, just ahead of a pair of Clemson golfers.
This week’s tournament: The SEC Championship
Teams will compete in a 54 hole stroke play event and then the Top 8 will advance to Match play.
When: April 21-25
Where: Sea Island, Ga.
Course: Seaside Course
The traditional host of the SEC Championship in St. Simons. It’s a Top 100 course in the country, host of the PGA Tour’s RSM Classic, and if you look closely, you can usually find Davis Love III doing sand angels in one of the signature bunkers from time to time.
The 36th-ranked Rebels:
Jackson Suber (Junior, Tampa, Fla.): The 33rd-ranked collegiate golfer in the country. Finished T15 in Birmingham. Leads the team in scoring average and ranks 14th in the conference in the same category. An absolute dog.
Sarut Vongchaisit (Junior, Bangkok, Thailand): Total rollercoaster of a Spring. Best finish was a T22 at the Old Waverly Championship. The team needs a solid week from him to stay competitive.
Veeti Mahonen (Sophomore, Kirkkonummi, Finland): Sits in the same car on the rollercoaster with Sarut this Spring. Best finish was a T8 and the Vanderbilt Legends Collegiate.
Brett Schell (Redshirt Freshman, St. Augustine, Fla.): Very good week in Birmingham for the Freshmen. Opened with a -1 (70) and finished the week at T34.
Jack Gnam (Junior, Ridgeland, Miss.): Another solid tournament in Birmingham for Gnam. Back to back Top-25 finishes heading into the SEC Championship. Could be a sneaky individual contender at Sea Island.
The Field: The SEC
The top individuals who will be playing for second: No. 10 Ryan Hall — South Carolina, No. 13 Davis Thompson — Georgia, No. 17 Sam Bennett — Texas A&M, No. 20 Will Moll — Vanderbilt, No. 37 Ford Clegg — Mississippi State, No. 39 Julian Perch — Arkansas, No. 41 Trent Phillips — Georgia, No. 42 Wilson Furr — Alabama
Next Up: The NCAA Regional — Date, time and place TBD