The 2010-11 Ferris State University men's golf team returns to the links for the first time since mid-October as the Bulldogs will take part in the North Alabama Invitational on March 28-29 in Ford City, Ala.
The Fighting Joe Course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at the Shoals is to serve as the site for the 54-hole event, which also host the 2011 NCAA Division II Championships (May 16-20). The University of North Alabama will be the host institution for both tournaments.
The 2011 North Alabama Invitational will begin this Monday (March 28) with the first two rounds proceeded by Tuesday's (March 29) final-round action.
"It's a good opportunity for us to see where we are at and to play against some of the best teams in the country right away," said FSU head coach Mike Mignano, who's in his fourth season directing the Bulldog men's golf program. "The spring season is a process for us and we seek to improve every week. We have high expectations this season, which includes preparing to be back at nationals this May, and the guys have a lot of confidence in us doing so after winning the GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Championships this last fall."
Ferris State, which catpured the program's 19th GLIAC Championship title this past fall (Oct. 3-4) with a playoff win after recording a three-round 889 team stroke total, placed sixth or better in four of its six fall tournaments this campaign.
The Bulldogs will be sending five student-athletes to compete in the North Alabama Invitational as seniors Kyle Wittenbach (Lowell), Joe Brown (St. Ignace/LaSalle), and Garrett Simons (Grand Ledge) along with junior Ian Straayer (Caledonia/Grandville) and freshman Trent Davison (Rockford) are slated to compete in the two-day tournament.
Kyle Wittenbach, who was the 2010 GLIAC Championships medalist, enters this spring season as Ferris State's leader in stroke average with a team-best 75.46 (891 strokes) in 13 rounds while Ian Straayer is second at 75.55 (831 total strokes) in 11 rounds. Joe Brown's 75.69 stroke average (984 total strokes) in 13 rounds ranks third best among the squad's leaders.
Following the season-opening tourney in Alabama, Ferris State will compete in the NCAA-II Midwest Region Tournament II (April 2-3) and III (April 10-11) at Georgetown, Ky., and Nobesville, Ind., respectively. The Bulldogs then participate in the Detroit Titans Invitational (April 15-16) at Highland, Mich., before wrapping up the regular season at the GLIAC Preview Tournament (April 22-23) in Lansing, Mich.
A season ago (May 18-21), Ferris State placed tied for seventh at the 2010 NCAA-II Championships in Nobesville, Ind., as a result of carding a four-round 1,232 team score.