The Gators Are Coming
The Florida men’s golf squad, the reigning 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf National Champions, will send six Gators to the Monroe Invitational. It was Florida’s fifth national championship and first since 2001. Rising sophomore Matthew Kress was a core member in the No. 5 spot of the championship winning team, finishing 3-3 in match play between the SEC Championship and NCAAs. In addition, Tyler Wilkes, Parker Bell, Joseph Pagdin, Luke Poulter and Ryan Hart will be making the trip. Poulter is the son of pro English golfer, Ian Poulter, who has three PGA Tour wins in his career. Hart is the son of Dudley Hart, a PGA Tour professional since 1991, who has professional wins 1996 RBC Canadian Open and the 2000 Honda Classic.
The top-ranked player in the field at 45th is Gustav Frimodt who played collegiately at TCU and hails from Glamsbjerg, Denmark. Frimodt has nine top 10 finishes to his name, including winning the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invite in October of 2022. Recently, he tied for third place in the North and South Amateur Championship at the end of June at Pinehurst after rounds of 67 and 69.
Strength in the Numbers
Over 80 players in this year’s field are ranked in the top 100 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), compared to over 60 from 2022. That includes 32 players in the top 500 according to WAGR. The impressive field saw a record number of non-exempt applications submitted this year at 210, compared to 180 in 2022, and 85 in 2021.
Monroe member R.J. Demonte is back in the tournament for the third consecutive season. Anthony Delisanti, who grew up in Sanborn, NY and went to high school at Niagara Wheatfield, is currently a rising junior at Valparaiso and ranks 399th according to WAGR. He has been rolling as of late, most recently finishing third at the Porter Cup and fifth at the North and South Amateur Championship. He won the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Championship at the end of April and was second at the Rutherford Intercollegiate two weeks prior. Delisanti, who was sixth at the Monroe in 2021, was named this year’s MVC Player of the Year.
Jason Lohwater (Villanova) who attended Brighton High School, along with Chris Blyth (St. John Fisher University) from Pittsford will also be teeing it up.
2021 Monroe Invitational winner, C.J. Easley, is back in the field after not playing in 2022. Following three years of playing at Auburn, Easley played his senior season at Ole Miss. He won the 2021 Monroe by five strokes after finishing -12 for the tournament.
Last Year’s Runner-Up Is Back
Jackson Chandler (Ohio State), who finished in second at the 2022 tournament, is back to take a crack at the trophy. Chandler was one of just four players in the final round on Saturday to post a score under par (-2). He was consistent all week with scores of 68, 70, 66, and 66 to finish -8, three shots off the winner Bartley Forrester of Georgia Tech. He ranks 336th according to WAGR and recently took fourth place at the Dogwood Invitational.
A CBS Sports Legend To Speak at the Blitz
12-time Emmy award winning producer for CBS Sports, Lance Barrow, will be the speaker on Tuesday night for the Blitz dinner. Beginning in 1997, Barrow took over as the coordinating producer for CBS Sports Golf, a position he held until 2020 before retiring. Barrow got his foot in the door at CBS in May of 1976 as a spotter and researcher for legendary sports broadcaster, Pat Summerall. One of Barrow’s Emmy awards was for CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2004 Masters. In addition, Barrow served as coordinating producer and lead game producer for Super Bowl 50. His coverage also includes the Olympic Winter Games, NCAA basketball, and auto racing. Barrow is a member at Colonial Golf Club in Fort Worth, Texas and is also a member of the Ben Hogan Award Selection Committee which selects the outstanding male amateur and collegiate golfer of the year.
Tigers In the Field
Two-time Monroe Invitational Champion, Philip Mollica (2006, 2008) played for Clemson University and this year the Monroe Invitational Committee is excited to have four Tigers in the field. Rising senior Andrew Swanson is currently ranked 155th on WAGR, with his last appearance being a fifth place finish in the North and South Amateur Championship. Kian Rose will be teeing it up for the first time this summer after finishing eighth in the NCAA Salem Regional – he is 247th in the WAGR rankings. Jonathan Nielsen and Calahan Keever are the other two members coming from Clemson.