Oglethorpe University and the Jekyll Island Authority are set to welcome 30 men's teams and 24 women's teams to the Jekyll Island Golf Club Friday through Sunday for the 18th annual Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational. This year's field has teams from 18 states, and will include 310 players from some of the best programs in the country. The men's field will feature 15 of the top 25 in the most recent Golfstat Relative Ranking. Remarkably, 24 of the teams in the tournament are ranked in the top 60, making this the deepest field in tournament history.
Two-time defending champion LaGrange returns three seniors to try and make it three in a row at the Pine Lakes course. The 2016 individual champion, Joey Mayo of Rhodes, will make his return, as well, trying to defend his individual medal. Mayo posted rounds of 67-71-67 for an 11-under-par 853, edging LaGrange's Logan Lanier by a single stroke in last year's event. Eight of the top 10 players from last year's tournament return to this year's field, as well as 23 out of the top 30.
The Stormy Petrels are coming off a third-place finish at the Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate two weeks ago, and will bring the same four sophomores: Patrick Mills, Kyle Shealy, Jake Arnett and Jake Thomas, plus freshman Kenny Park.
"As young as we are, we actually brought a less-experienced squad here last year," said Oglethorpe director of golf Jim Owen. "We had played only three competitive rounds on Pine Lakes going into last year's tournmanet. This year, we are tripling that number," Owen laughed. "We are just as talented as we were last year, and hopefully, a wiser collective group that can handle Jekyll Island. I was encouraged by how we finished at Callaway Gardens last week, so hopefully we'll be able to carry that over."
The Petrels are paired with defending champion LaGrange and defending national champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for Friday's opening round. The trio of top 10 teams will tee off beginning at 9:30 a.m.