Hokies open spring slate in Puerto Rico

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech men’s golf team will open the spring portion of the 2016-17 season at the Puerto Rico Classic on Feb. 19-21. The three-day event, hosted by Purdue, will be played at the Par-72, 6,945 yard Rio Mar Beach and Spa Resort's River Course in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

This is the 25th year for this event, which annually attracts one of the best fields in collegiate golf. This is the Hokies’ 14th appearance in the event.

The 15-team tournament features teams from across the country. Tech is joined by fellow ACC members North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Clemson and NC State this year. Fourteen of the 15 teams in the field, including the Hokies at No. 68, are ranked in the Golfstat.com top 100 rankings. The top six teams from last season, including defending champion Alabama, return this season. The Crimson Tide has won five of the last six Puerto Rico Classics.

Sarit Suwannarut, a freshman from Bangkok, Thailand, will lead off for the Hokies. The newcomer had a pair of third place finishes in his first two collegiate events and tied for 13th at UNC and 15th in Tennessee. He leads the Hokies in stroke average at 69.92.

Mark Lawrence Jr., will play the second spot for the Hokies. A sophomore from Richmond, Virginia, Lawrence is second in scoring average at 71.25 and leads in crunch time scoring, at 69.75. He finished fifth at Marshall to open the fall season.

Playing third for Tech is Logan Yates. A sophomore from Ruckersville, Virginia, Yates is third on the team in scoring at 71.54 and had two top-10 finishes in the first two events of the season.

Playing the four spot for Tech is Joey Lane. The senior from Great Falls, Virginia, secured his first collegiate win at VCU in September. He won the Virginia State Amateur and the prestigious Eastern Amateur over the summer. He tied for 15th at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate in the fall.

Blake Fiest will move into the fifth position for Tech this week, after earning the spot in qualifying this month. The sophomore from Huntersville, North Carolina played in one event in the fall, finishing 55th at VCU. This will be his first time in the starting five for the Hokies this season and the third time in his career.

Practice rounds are set for Saturday and the competition begins Sunday morning. The second round will be played on Monday and the final round will be played on Tuesday. Live stats will be available on Hokiesports.com, via a link from BirdieFire.com.

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