Hokies open spring season in Puerto Rico

The Virginia Tech men’s golf team will open the spring portion of the 2017-18 season on Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Puerto Rico Classic. The three-day event will be played on the Ocean Course of the Wyndham Rio Mar Country Club in San Juan, Puerto Rico Feb. 18-20.

The Hokies will be joined by three other ACC schools in the event, which annually draws one of the top fields in collegiate golf. This season, top-ranked Alabama, third-ranked Georgia Tech and ninth-ranked Oklahoma headline a field of 15 teams, which includes eight top 50 teams. Along with Tech and Georgia Tech, ACC foes Clemson and NC State are also in the field.

Tech will open the spring with Mark Lawrence Jr., playing the top spot. The junior from Richmond, Virginia led the Hokies in scoring average in the fall, at 71.42. He won the 2017 Virginia State Amateur and advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 U.S. Amateur this past summer.

Playing the second position is Blake Fiest. The junior from Huntersville, North Carolina was second on the team in scoring average in the fall, at 72.20. He had two top 20 finishes in the fall, including a career-best sixth place finish at the UNCG Grandover Collegiate to close out the fall season.

Connor Burgess will play in the third spot for Tech in Puerto Rico. The freshman from Lynchburg, Virginia is coming off a very strong first semester of collegiate golf. He was third on the team in scoring average, at 72.87 and posted three top 25 finishes. He led the Hokies and finished second at the Janney Invitational in Richmond in September for his best collegiate finish to date.

Ian Hildebrand will play fourth for the Hokies. The senior from Purcellville, Virginia was fifth on the team in scoring average in the fall, at 74.75. He had a career-best 33rd place finish at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate in October.

Playing the fifth position for the Hokies in Puerto Rico is Dan Woodbury. The senior from Upton, Massachusetts played in just two events for Tech in the fall, but was a member of the starting five as a freshman in the NCAA Noblesville Regional in 2015.

The three-day event has been moved to the Ocean Course this year due to heavy damage on the River Course from Hurricane Maria. This is the 10th consecutive and 15th overall season that the Hokies have competed in the event. Some of the greatest golfers on the PGA Tour have competed in the event, including Matt Kuchar, Bubba Watson, Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover.

Play will begin Sunday morning with an 8 a.m. ET shotgun start. The 15 teams will play 18 holes each day. Live scoring will be available on Hokiesports.com, via a link from Golfstat.com.

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