The event features seven teams that participated in 2011 NCAA Regionals, including the Hatters, and two others that sent individual players into NCAA play. The event is hosted by James Madison University.
“This is a very good field and it will be a competitive tournament,” Stetson coach Floyd Kerr said. “We could finish anywhere from first to last, it all depends on how we play.”
The top-ranked team in the field, according to Golfstat.com, is the University of Illinois, which is ranked 50th in the nation. The Illini are followed closely by East Carolina (51), USF (52) and Maryland (60).
Stetson, which is ranked 112th entering its first spring tournament, will be tested from the very start. The Hatters have been grouped with Illinois and Maryland in the very first groupings for Friday’s opening round of play.
The tournament will continue with single rounds on both Saturday and Sunday on the par 72, 6,300-yard links style course at Oakleaf Plantation.
The quintet of players slated to compete for Stetson includes junior Alexandria Buelow, who comes into the event as the highest ranked individual player in the field with a Golfstat ranking of No. 28. Five other players in the field are ranked among the top 100 in the nation.
Buelow will be joined for Stetson by senior Lauren Cate and sophomores Ryan Ashburn, Claudia Redinger and Mallory Viera.
The tournament in Orange Park kicks off a busy month of play for the Hatters, who will also play in the Morehead State Spring Invitational in Ocala (March 18-20), the Cincinnati Spring Invitational in Crystal River (March 23-25) and the JU Marsh Landing Invitational in St. Augustine (April 1-3) before hosting the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Tournament in New Smyrna Beach April 9-11.