EL PASO, Texas (Nov. 20, 2005) - ETSU junior Rhys Davies (Bridgend, Wales) will begin play Monday in one of the nation's most prestigious collegiate events, the 31st Annual Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic, scheduled for Nov. 20-22 at the El Paso Country Club.
On Sunday, the field competed in some preliminary competitions - the Titleist Long Drive Contest and the Ping Putting Contest.
Lemke, a native of Link÷ping, Sweden, launched two impressive drives to begin his series, but it was his third try that went a record 358 yards to win the driving event.
This year's tournament features seven Golfweek preseason first team All-Americans - Davies (ETSU), Anthony Kim (
This year's field includes three members of the 2005 Walker Cup team - Davies (
For the first time since 2002, the field also features the NCAA Division II and III national champion from the previous year. Dane Burkhart, the Division II champion, led South Carolina-Aiken to the national team title in 2005, while Colin Clark of
"We really have a strong field this year," said Mark Pelletier, tournament chairman. "Top to bottom, we have 32 of the nation's best players."
In 2005, the Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic ranked as the No. 1 tournament in the country, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.
The 2005 field was extended to a record-high 32 golfers due to the 45 eligible All-Americans. Last year, 29 golfers competed for the title, eclipsing the previous high of 27 golfers, who competed in the Golf Classic in 1983 and again in 1997.
The tournament, hosted by the Sun Bowl Association, is played at the Par-71, 6,781-yard El Paso Country Club.
Throughout the years, many Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic competitors have gone on to pursue successful careers in the Professional Golfers' Association of America and on the PGA Tour. Some of the past champions include Ricky Barnes (2000), Notah Begay (1994), David Duval (1991), Matt Kuchar (1999), Davis Love III (1984), Chris Nallen (2003), Jerry Pate (1974) and Tiger Woods (1995).
Alumni of the Golf Classic have gone on to earn more than $790 million on the PGA Tour. In all, 112 colleges and universities have participated in the tournament, raising more than $540,000 in scholarship money for the participating institutions.
Each university is awarded a $1,000 scholarship if a golfer from that school competes in the tournament.
Titleist Longest Drive Contest
1. Niklas Lemke (
1. Dawie Van der Walt (Lamar), 20; 2. Travis Bertoni (Cal Poly), 21; 3. Matt Every (