The CSU men’s golf team, ranked No. 18 in the country, will tee off in Tempe, Ariz., in the 37th annual Thunderbird Invitational this morning in search of their sixth win of the season.
Competing in the tournament will be 16 teams, including tournament host Arizona State along with five other Mountain West conference teams — BYU, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU and UNLV.
Four of the MWC competitors are currently ranked in the top 35, with BYU as the lone unranked conference foe.
The Thunderbird Invitational will be held on the par 71, 7,057-yard Karsten Golf Course, where last year CSU tied for third place.
The Rams head to Tempe coming off their lowest finish this season, eighth in the National Invitational Tournament in Tucson, Ariz., on March 23. The NIT tournament was the last time CSU saw competition.
Snow canceled the Rams last tournament in Wichita, Kan., which was scheduled for March 30-31. The cancelation paused a CSU bid for a school record sixth tournament win in a single season.
The Rams tied the school record with five tournament victories of the season with a win in the Barona Collegiate Cup tournament on March 17.
Junior Dustin Morris was named the Golf World Player of the Week from March 16-22 after shooting 13 under par and winning the individual tournament title while battling through an illness in the Barona Collegiate Cup.
“Dustin had been feeling pretty sick and was able to really eat for the past couple of days. I honestly didn’t know if he would be able to play. I think he was concentrating so much on just getting himself out there, that he didn’t worry about golf,” head coach Jamie Bermel said after the Barona Collegiate Cup.
With Morris’ last individual title, the Rams now have three first place individual finishes this season.
Junior Bryce Hanstad was the first golfer to win an individual title in the first tournament of the season the Gene Miranda Invitational in Colorado Springs. Freshman Zahkai Brown gave CSU their second individual title in the fourth tournament of the season, the Del Walker Intercollegiate.
Competing this weekend for CSU will be Morris, Hanstad, senior Zen Brown, junior Riley Arp and sophomore Justin Spray. Sophomore Ryan Peterson will compete as an individual.
The first two rounds will begin this morning at 8 a.m., with the final 18 holes are set for Saturday.
Golf beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at email@example.com.