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SIU Peyton Wilhoit

SIU golfer Peyton Wilhoit (right) takes a swing in this file photo from Saluki athletics.

CARBONDALE — The SIU men's golf team kicks off the spring season by heading to Gainesville, Florida, for its first appearance at the Gator Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.

The team traveling this week will be Luke Gannon, Peyton Wilhoit, Matthis Besard, Hunter York and Vikar Jonasson.

SIU will play three rounds of golf in a 15-team field including Coastal Carolina, Florida, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville, Liberty, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Florida, Princeton, UCF, USF, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia. Vanderbilt is returning to the Gator Invitational after taking the title home last year. Out of the 15 teams, 11 of them, including Vanderbilt, are returning to the tournament from last year.

SIU coach Justin Fetcho has some advice for the three seniors heading into the last leg of their college golf career.

"I think for this semester for the seniors, and even the whole team, to give it everything they have," he said. "Then hopefully that will get us to a conference title and the NCAA postseason, so that the seniors will have no regrets at the end of the year, and that everything they've worked toward will have paid off."

The teams will play on the Mark Bostick Gold Course, which sits at the northwest corner of the University of Florida's campus. The course was originally designed by renowned architect Donald Ross during the 1920's, but has evolved throughout the years with the most recent renovation being in 2011 by Jacksonville-based architect Bobby Weed.

Round 1 will begin at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start on Saturday. Players will go straight into Round 2 Saturday, weather permitting. Round 3 will be on Sunday with tee times starting at 8 a.m. Live stats will be available via Golfstat.com.

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