STORRS, Conn. --- Talk about expanding one’s horizons – the UConn men’s golf team is taking it to the horizon and beyond. The Huskies will embark on one of the longest road trips in the history of the program this week as it heads to Hawaii to compete in the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic.
Hosted by the University of Hawaii at the breathtaking Royal Ka’anapali Course at the Ka’anapali Golf Club in Lahaina, Maui, the tournament consists of a 20-team field featuring some of the top collegiate programs in the country.
“I think it’s an opportunity to play against the kind of field that we have focused our schedule around --- playing a national schedule,” coach Dave Pezzino said. “It takes us to Hawaii to play against a bunch of teams that saw late May golf (postseason play) – which is what our focus is, to have our guys be practicing and playing for a purpose in late May.”
The three-day, 54-hole tournament will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week. The Royal Ka’anapali Course is a 6,700-yard, Par 71 layout. Besides UConn and the host school, the rest of the field includes Air Force, Ball State, Boise State, Bowling Green, California, Georgia, Gonzaga, Houston, Indiana, Kansas, Kent State, Louisiana State, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Scaramento State, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to be part of one of the strongest fields in college golf,” Pezzino said, “as well as have our student-athletes play somewhere that’s very unique in our country.”
Leading the Huskies contingent to Hawaii will be junior co-captains Jimmy Hervol (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Nabeel Khan (Westerville, Ohio). Hervol is UConn’s leading scorer through four tournaments this year, averaging 71.3 strokes per round. In 12 rounds, he has shot par or better eight times, with five sub-70 rounds, a low round of 66, and three Top 10 finishes. Khan is averaging 72.7 per round, with six rounds of par or better, a low round of 70 and one Top 10 finish.
Also playing for the Huskies in Hawaii will be redshirt sophomore Drake Hull (Rutland, Vt.), averaging 72.8 in 12 rounds, with three rounds of par or better, a low round of 68, and two Top 20 finishes; redshirt shophomore Zach Iannone (Hamden, Conn.), averaging 74.6 per round for nine rounds, with three rounds of par or better, a low of 71, and one Top 10 finish; and freshman Rodrigo Sanchez (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), averaging 72.9 per round for nine rounds, with three rounds of par or better, a low round of 69, and one Top 20 finish.
Completing the UConn entrants will be senior Sasha Wortelboer (Geneva, Switzerland), who will compete in the tournament as an individual. Wortelboer is averaging 73.0 per round, with one Top 20 finish.
“This trip is a great boost for our program,” Pezzino said. “It shows our student-athletes that we think the entire student-athlete experience is very important. We want to give them the chance to play a demanding schedule in all corners of the country. It’s an opportunity for our guys to compete against the best, and that’s all we ever ask for.”
Live scoring will be available via golfstatresults.com. The tournament will use a shotgun start on each of the three days, beginning at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Friday and Saturday and 1:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Sunday.