Texas tees up for spring opener in Hawaii

Dawson Hinkley

The No. 16 Longhorns made the long trip across the Pacific this week to take part in the 27th annual Amer Ari Intercollegiate Invitational. The tournament will be held this weekend at Waikoloa Kings’ Course in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii, from Thursday through Saturday as Texas hopes to kick off its spring season with a bang.

The Amer Ari Invitational is one of the most prestigious golf tournaments of the spring collegiate season. This year’s tourney will showcase three of the top 10 teams in the nation. Historically, the Longhorns have fared quite well at this tournament with victories in both 2002 and 2012 at Waikoloa Kings’. With a young group this spring season, the Longhorns will look to the reliable upperclassmen duo of No. 2-ranked senior Doug Ghim and No. 39-ranked senior Scottie Scheffler to lead the squad.

This spring, Ghim will be looking to improve on a stellar 2017 season in which he won the Big 12 Player of the Year and was a Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist. Scheffler will also be under the spotlight after making national headlines in 2017 as the Low Amateur in the U.S. Open.

“What we need is incredible leadership from Doug Ghim and Scottie Scheffler,” head coach John Fields said. “They need to lead as great teammates, but they also need to maximize their strengths on the golf course and put up some really good scores.”

Both Ghim and Scheffler will have a lot to prove this spring after being ranked so highly to begin the season, but both have shown the capabilities necessary to lead this Texas team and consistently shoot low scores.

While the Longhorns did not come into this season toting a single-digit national ranking like they’ve been used to, the team is still loaded with talent and potential to make yet another run at the Big 12 title later this spring.

“Every tournament we go to we know we have an opportunity to win it,” Fields said. “The challenge is significant, so bottom line is if we play great, we have a chance to win; if we play anything other than that, these other teams are designed to do the same things themselves.”

The starting five for Texas for this weekend’s tournament will be Ghim, Scheffler, sophomore Spencer Soosman, sophomore Nick Costello and sophomore Drew Jones. Texas will also bring junior Steven Chervony and freshman Christoffer Bring as individuals.

The first tee times for the Amer Ari Invitational will be at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.