Catamount Men’s Golf, CCSV Hosts JT Poston Invitational
Cullowhee, North Carolina – West Carolina men’s golf returns to the beautiful Sapphire Valley Country Club in southern Jackson County September 25-27 to host the 2022 JT Poston Invitational. A total of 17 teams and 93 golfers are vying for the championship over the two-day, 54-hole stroke play event on the 7,007-yard, par-71 course.
The WCU Home Tournament returns to the Country Club of Sapphire Valley (CCSV) for the 16th season overall, with the Catamounts and CCSV combining to host the sought-after men’s intercollegiate golf tournament.
For only the sixth time in the event’s history at CCSV, the 2022 JT Poston Invitational is held in a 54-hole format with 36 holes of continuous play with a shotgun start on Monday, September 26 and the third and last lap at the start. off on Tuesday, September 27 from the first and 10th hole tee boxes. The practice round is scheduled for Sunday at the Sapphire Valley Country Club.
Live tournament scoring will be available online at GolfStat.com.
“We say it every year, but it still rings true now more than ever. We are more than fortunate to be able to call Sapphire Valley Country Club a home course and host a premier collegiate tournament at this spectacular venue in face of great membership and our Catamount fanbase,” said the WCU head coach Tim Eckberg. “It’s an incredible golf course, and now on par with a former Catamount great and a rising PGA Tour star, I’m extremely proud to have the opportunity to once again showcase some of the best college golfers here.”
Two-time PGA Tour winner and tournament namesake JT Poston earned individual medalist honors at the 2013 WCU home event – the first time the Hummingbird Intercollegiate played 54 holes. The Hickory, North Carolina native posted a then-WCU school-record 204-hole score of 204. Adding the top 10 finishes of ninth in 2011 and third, in 2015, Poston’s average over the course of his four-year tournament career was eighth. Poston concluded his playing career as the WCU’s all-time leading scorer with a 71.73 rushing average and boasts four of the program’s top 15 individual scoring averages in a single season.
The host Catamounts are joined in the 2022 field by fellow Southern Conference foes Chattanooga and Wofford. Rounding out the field are Abilene Christian, Appalachian State, Bellarmine, Belmont, Coastal Carolina, Elon, Francis Marion, Georgia State, High Point, James Madison, Kennesaw State, Morehead State, UNC Wilmington and Western Kentucky.
Among the participants in this year’s tournament are five former tag team champions, including two-time event winners Western Carolina (2007, 2016) and Wofford (2013, 2015). Appalachian State won the 2011 tournament title. The field also includes five teams making their first trip to Sapphire Valley – Abilene Christian, Bellarmine, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State and James Madison.
The event’s reigning individual medalist – Chattanooga sophomore Braedon Wear – returns to defend his title, though the tournament has never seen a repeat winner. Three tournament-high Catamounts have reached the podium in their home tournament, including Dylan MacQueen in 2016, Poston in 2013 and Andres Cuenca in 2007, Keith Tyburski finishing tied for first in 2004 before falling to the second hole of a playoff. Only Furman (2009, 2014) and Vanderbilt (2008, 2010) have had multiple medalists in the event’s history.
The field also includes a pair of teams coached by former Catamount head coaches like Bryant Odom brings in his Kennesaw State Owls from Georgia, and Carter Cheves has his James Madison Dukes ready for on-court competition for the first time.
Three of the previous tournaments at CCSV have been decided in one fell swoop, including the most recent event in 2019 as Georgia Southern edged South Carolina, 805 to 806, to become the first program to return to- de return for the Tag Team Championship at the Poston Invitational or Hummingbird Intercollegiate. Clemson beat SoCon-foe Furman by a single scorer in 2014 with UCF rallying Vanderbilt in 2008 for a one-shot victory in the 36-hole format.
Last year, South Carolina took its two-shot advantage over Chattanooga’s stand-up, repelling a Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders charge to claim championship honors.
Playing 7,007 yards par-71 this year, the magnificent Sapphire Valley Country Club is a private, member-owned club that features a golf course in the valley, a lavish clubhouse, fitness center state-of-the-art and tennis center. The course winds through mature hardwood forest and the scenic Southern Appalachian Mountains 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 updated by Bill Bergin.
West Carolina opened the 2022-23 season at the rain-shortened Badger Invitational in Wisconsin by sitting in second place after the first of two rounds. However, the Catamounts came home 13th overall and are eager to get back on their home course. With a roster evenly split between old and newcomers,
All eight active members of the WCU roster will compete in the home tournament with three individuals joining the five scorers. Senior Magnus Pedersen just finished in 35th place at last year’s Poston Invitational, which included a career-low 68 in the first round last season. Product Moss, Norway, shot 208 for a tie for 16th as a rookie in 2019. He is flanked by transfer newcomers Ryan Thomas and Adam Hooker in the second and third seeds. Although this is his first season on the WCU roster, Hooker previously appeared in the tournament as a member of the High Point Panthers roster in 2019.
Rounding out WCU’s score, five are fifth-year seniors Louis Theys and red shirt junior transfer Pablo Hernandez. Theys, who has competed alone as an individual in the last two events held at CCSV, is ranked fourth. Hernandez shot a first-round 69 in his WCU debut in Wisconsin.
The three Catamounts who will compete for the Individual Unattached Championship are seniors Quinton Metzsecond Kiefer Boulauand transfer Josh Lendach. Bulau made his college debut in last year’s home tournament as a true rookie while Metz are making their third appearance on the field at the home tournament. Lendach is a redshirt freshman from Raleigh who transferred before this season as he makes his WCU debut as an individual.
Full results and recaps from both days will be available after play on Monday and Tuesday.
Keep track of all things Catamount men’s golf and WCU Athletics through his social media on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Instagram (@wcu_catamounts) and Twitter (@catamounts, @CatamountMGolf).