By RON BALICKI
Georgia, which finished the season No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, and reigning NCAA champion UCLA will head the 15-team field for this fall’s Ping/Golfweek Preview Invitational.
The 20th edition of this fall classic college tournament will be played Sept. 28-30 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. The 54-hole stroke play event will consist of 18 holes each day with a practice round set for Sept. 27.
Georgia finished the 2007-08 season with a 69.96 Sagarin ranking to finish just ahead of Alabama, which won six tournaments.
UCLA closed out the season by winning its second NCAA title and first since 1988. It beat defending champion Stanford by a stroke at the difficult Kampen Course at Purdue’s Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.
Alabama and Stanford also earned invitations to the Preview as did USC, Oklahoma State, Florida, Charlotte, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
Rounding out the field will be Clemson, Kent State, Arizona State, Florida State and host team Toledo.
“Playing in the Preview is always one of our goals,” said Kent State coach Herb Page. “We haven’t been there for a few years so we are really looking forward to getting back this fall. It’s even more special because it’s at Inverness, which makes it almost like a home tournament for us.”
The Preview is held each fall at the site of the following spring’s NCAA Division I Men’s Championship. Charlotte won the 2007 tournament and finished tied for eighth at the NCAA Championship.
The only team to win the Preview and go on to capture the NCAA title the next spring was UNLV in 1997 and 1998.
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Ron Balicki is a Golfweek senior writer. To reach him e-mail [email protected]