Cullowhee, North Carolina – West Carolina Men’s Golf returns to the stunning Sapphire Valley Country Club in southern Jackson County over the next three days to host the 2021 JT Poston Invitational. A total of 14 teams compete for the championship on a 7,007 yard course at par 71.
WCU Home Tournament returns to Country Club of Sapphire Valley (CCSV) after a one-year hiatus as the 2020 event was canceled on the course due to COVID-19 with the Catamounts hosting at Cateechee Golf Club in Hartwell, Georgia, named after the tournament for one year. This year marks the 15th season in total that WCU and CCSV have combined to host a varsity men’s golf tournament.
For only the fifth time in the history of hosting WCU events at CCSV, the 2021 JT Poston Invitational will take place in a 54-hole format with 36 holes of continuous play with a shotgun start on Monday. September 27 and the third and last of the round starting on Tuesday September 28 in the starting areas of the first and 10th holes. Live tournament scores will be available online at GolfStat.com.
Tournament namesake Poston, who plans to be at the country club on Sunday for the practice rounds and tournament dinner, took home individual medalist honors at the WCU home event at the 2013 event – the first time the Hummingbird Intercollegiate then played 54 holes. The Hickory, NC native had a score of 204, the school’s WCU-era record, on 54 holes. Adding the top 10 in 2011 and third in 2015, Poston’s average over his four-year tournament career was eighth.
“We say it every year, but it always rings true – we are more than lucky to be able to call the Sapphire Valley Country Club a home course and to host a top notch collegiate tournament at this spectacular venue in front of so many. members and our fan base, ”said WCU head coach Tim eckberg. “This is an incredible golf course, and now on par with a former Catamount big and a rising PGA Tour star, I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to once again feature some of the best college golf courses here.”
The Catamounts hosts are joined in the 2021 area are the other Southern Conference enemies Chattanooga, Furman, Mercer and Wofford. Rounding out the field are Appalachian State, Belmont, Central Arkansas, defending champion Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State, Middle Tennessee, Morehead State, South Carolina and UNC Wilmington. Clemson sends four individual competitors to complete the course for 87 golfers.
Among the field for this year’s tournament are five former tag team champions, including two-time event winners Western Carolina (2007, 2016) and Wofford (2013, 2015) and two-time defending champion Georgia Southern (2018, 2019). ). The Eagles set an event record with an 805 par of 47 below par the last time college golfers hit the Sapphire course.
Also in the 2021 field, the 2009 event winner Furman and the 2011 Appalachian State team champion. Reigning individual medalist of the tournament – Ryan Hall of South Carolina – returns to defend his 2019 Poston Invitational crown after setting an event record with a score of 199 in three rounds (70-65-64).
Three of CCSV’s previous tournaments were decided in one fell swoop, including the most recent event in 2019, as Georgia Southern edged South Carolina, 805-806, to become the first program to return to – back at the Poston Invitational or the Hummingbird Intercollegiate. Clemson beat SoCon-foe Furman by a single scorer in 2014 with UCF rallying Vanderbilt in 2008 for a one-stroke victory in the 36-hole format.
The WCU home event has never had a repeat individual winner, although three schools have seen an individual medalist. A tournament high point, three Catamounts climbed to the top of the podium in their home tournament, including Dylan MacQueen (2016), current PGT Tour pro – and tournament namesake JT Poston (2013) and Andres Cuenca (2007). Furman (2009, 2014) and Vanderbilt (2008, 2010) both had individual winners twice in the history of the event.
Playing this year on a 7,007-yard par-71, the magnificent Sapphire Valley Country Club is a private, member-owned club that features a valley golf course, lavish clubhouse, state-of-the-art fitness center and tennis center. The course winds through the backdrop of a mature deciduous forest and the picturesque mountains of the southern Appalachians which offer breathtaking views and a natural setting. The course, which sits on a flat valley floor despite its mountainous surroundings, was originally designed by George Cobb and has been updated by Bill Bergin.
After winning individual medalist honors in his college debut, a freshman Jake peacock pace the Catamount by scoring five points in his first appearance in the WCU home tournament. A product of Milton, Ga., Peacock tied a record 200 points on 54 holes (67-67-66) as he guided WCU to the tag team championship in the EKU Intercollegiate season opener. It enters the second tournament of the year ranked second in the Southern Conference in scoring.
Peacock is flanked by a classmate Kyle kushnir, a Raleigh native who finished fourth on his college debut in the second seed. Kushnir opened his career with a weak round of 64, shooting 5 under at the EKU Intercollegiate. To complete the WCU score, five behind the freshman duo are juniors Magnus pedersen, senior Tumi Kúld and second year Presten Richardson. Pedersen finished tied for 16th at the last JT Poston Invitational in 2019,
Two Catamount returlers and a third freshman will compete for the Individual Unattached Championship. Senior Louis Theys, who finished 10th at the JT Poston Invitational in Cateechee last spring, is joined by junior Quinton Metz and true freshman born in Canada Kiefer Bulau, who is making his university debut.
Full results and recaps for both days will be available after the match on Monday and Tuesday.
Keep track of all things Catamount Men’s Golf and WCU Track and Field via their social media on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Instagram (@wcu_catamounts) and Twitter (@catamounts, @CatamountMGolf).