The Washington men’s golf team open the 2016 season at the University of Minnesota in the Gopher Invitational held at Windsong Farm Golf Club.
The UW will be joined by No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 11 California, and No. 20 Arkansas. The 14-team field will tee off holes one and 10 beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The par-71, 7,152 yard course will be home to the Huskies’ first tournament under new head coach Alan Murray.
Murray joined the team in August and is only the 10th head coach in the program’s history, taking the place of Matt Thurmond who held the position for 15 years. Before joining the UW’s coaching staff, Murray held the same position at University of Alabama at Birmingham. In the six years as the Blazers’ head coach, Murray led UAB to its first ever regional title last season and earned GolfWeek’s 2014 National Coach of the Year honors.
While Murray is joined by a number of incoming freshmen, the Huskies will welcome back senior Corey Pereira, last season’s team leader in strokes averaged (71.4), who holds the No. 12 spot in World Amateur Golf Rankings. Pereira’s honors extend to a GolfWeek All-American honorable mention and a First Team All-Pac-12 selection.
Sophomore Carl Yuan also returned with Pac-12 honors, earning a spot on the Pac-12’s All-Freshman team. In Yuan’s impressive freshman campaign, he recorded nine top-25 finishes in 11 events last year.
Juniors Frank Garber and Jordan Lu return to the course as well as senior Kevin Kwon.
In the two-day tournament four newcomers will begin their collegiate career, as Shamu Bodhidatta, Henry Lee, Daniel List, and Sam Warkentin join the cast.
Three of the four freshmen have experience on the international scene.
Bodhidatta is the Mercedez-Benz Junior Golf champion and the Singha-TSGU Junior Future Tour champion; Lee finished third at the 2015 Canadian Junior Boys Championship; and List finished at the top of the leaderboard at the ISGA British High Schools National Final.
Warkentin, a Bainbridge Island native, finished a successful career at Bainbridge Island High School, recording first-place finishes in 13 additional tournaments, and becoming the first to win WJGA Overall State Champion three times.
The Gopher Invitational also features an individual section that will take place at Pioneer Creek Golf Course in Maple Plain, Minn. Bodhidatta, Lee, and Yuan will play as individuals, while Garber, Kwon, Lu, Pereira, and Warkentin will make up the UW’s five-man roster.
Reach Sports Editor Alexis Mansanarez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @almansanarez