UVA men's golf rides momentum into second annual Lewis Chitengwa Memorial
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Unlike most collegiate sports, a home golf tournament is a rare site, but a cherished one for Virginia men's golf.
"It's unusual in our sport to host because we bring in 14 teams," UVA men's golf coach Bowen Sargent said, "So it's kind of unusual for teams to host."
No. 21 Virginia will host the second annual Lewis Chitengwa Memorial on Monday and Tuesday (April 10-11) at Birdwood Golf Course to close out the regular season. The event honors former UVA golfer Lewis Chitengwa, a two-time All-American during his career, who passed away at the age of 26 due to meningitis.
The timing could not be better for the Cavaliers to return home after a season which has taken them to six different states and Puerto Rico.
"We've been traveling so much this year," freshman Ben James said, "It's great to have a home game for us and we're all super excited to have friends and family come out."
Virginia is also starting to find a rhythm again as of late. The Cavaliers started the year in the fall by reaching the No. 1 overall ranking for the first time in program history, becoming the 13th spot at UVA to go atop the rankings.
Play started slowly in the spring, but after a third-place finish at a crowded field for the Augusta Haskins Award Invite in Augusta, Ga., Sargent feels the Cavaliers have found a five-some to carry through the end of the season. The group of five includes freshman Ben James, who ranks No. 16 among individuals according to Golfstat.
"They're pumped up, I know Coach Sargent and Groves are super excited as well and we're just happy to be home and playing Birdwood, the course we love and hopefully we tear it up," James said.
The field at Birdwood will be competitive as usual with No. 6 Auburn, No. 7 Florida State, No. 31 Northwestern and No. 40 Arkansas joining Virginia as ranked teams in the field. As hosts and defending champions of the event, UVA hopes to close the season on top before the ACC Championships begin on April 21.
"For us this is a great opportunity to play at home and get some fans out here and then showcase Birdwood," Sargent said, "An unbelievable experience for our guys and we're really excited for it."