Hackler Championship tees off today with 15 top teams

Once again, the field for the 11th annual Coastal Carolina General Jim Hackler Championship, contested Sunday and Monday, will feature some of the top programs in collegiate golf.

The 2012 field of 15 teams is headlined by eight teams ranked among the GolfStat and Golfweek top 50, including Arkansas (ninth in both ranking), North Florida (14th/19th, respectively), New Mexico (19th/21st), Virginia (24th/35th), Tennessee (40th/37th), East Carolina (41st/45th), Lamar (57th/63rd) and two-time NCAA Champion Augusta State (49th/50th). The Chants are ranked 91st in poll ranking systems with Air Force, East Tennessee State, Furman, Maryland, Navy and Pepperdine rounding out the field.

Individually, New Mexico’s John Catlin is ranked 16th by GolfStat, while North Florida’s Sean Dale is ranked 19th by Golfweek. Coastal Carolina is led by junior Sebastian Soderberg, who is a two-time All-Big South selection and advanced to the NCAA Championship last year.

The field included six past champions, including Arkansas (2003), Pepperdine (2004), Coastal Carolina (2005), East Tennessee State (2006 and 2010), Lamar (2007) and Augusta State (2011). Other than the host Chanticleers, East Tennessee and Pepperdine have played in the most Hackler Championships, each with eight previous appearances.

Other repeat competitors at the Hackle include Arkansas (3), Augusta State (5), East Carolina (3), Furman (4), Lamar (5), New Mexico (1), North Florida (5), Tennessee (1) and Virginia (4). Air Force, Navy and Maryland will be playing in their first Hackler Championship.

However, one thing will be different this year as the event has been moved to the DeBordieu Club in Georgetown.

The first General Hackler Championship, then referred to as the Coastal Carolina Invitational, was held at The Grand Dunes Resort in 2002. The subsequent nine years thereafter the tournament home was at TPC Myrtle Beach, which is both the Chants’ home course and site of the team’s practice and training facility.

“We are once again thrilled to host one of the nation’s top events,” said CCU Director of Golf Allen Terrell. “We are also excited to play this year’s event at the DeBordieu Club. TPC Myrtle Beach is and has been very good to us, but this move will benefit both our program and TPC.

“We will lose a little local knowledge, but history shows we have not enjoyed that much of an edge over the past several years. We have gotten to play several rounds and DeBordieu, so hopefully we can translate to a successful two days. I know the teams will thoroughly enjoy their experience this weekend and look forward to a great 54 holes of golf.”

The DeBordieu Club, designed by Pete and D.B Dye, will play 7,189 yards and be a par 71 for the 2012 Hackler Championship.

The first round will begin at holes 1 and 10 at 7:30 pm on Sunday (Mar. 11) with continuous play for a total of 36 holes. The final round on Monday will also begin at 7:30 pm with the awards ceremony set for approximately 3 pm.

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