2016 Azalea Invitational Preview: Defending Champion Todd White Highlights Field
Todd White with Azalea Invitational Trophy <br>(Photo credit David Cobb)</br>
Todd White with Azalea Invitational Trophy
(Photo credit David Cobb)

CHARLESTON, SC (March 29, 2016)--Last year at 47-years-old Todd White accomplished something that hadn’t happened in fifteen years at the Azalea Invitational. White became the first mid-amateur to win the event since 2000. This week White will return to The Country Club of Charleston to compete against another strong field as he looks to defend his title.

The Country Club of Charleston is a par 71 layout that plays at 6,776 yards. In 2013 the course hosted the U.S. Women’s Amateur and in 2019 The Country Club of Charleston will host its first U.S. Women’s Open.

Play will begin on Thursday and run through Sunday with the first group scheduled to tee off at 7:50 a.m. EST. The cut will be made Saturday after the completion of 54-holes.

Weather is a concern this weekend with rain in the forecast for the majority of the four days. The temperature will sit in the upper 70’s or low 80’s but rain is forecasted for Thursday-Saturday with Friday appearing to be the worst day of the weekend. The Friday forecast is currently calling for up to an inch of rain with winds gusting at 15-25 MPH. Fortunately, the forecast for Sunday is sunny with a light breeze so if the tournament does fall behind there is a window to make up time.

Defending champion Todd White, a former Walker Cup player, will be teeing off at 9:40 a.m. on Thursday and he will be playing alongside Nathan Smith the four-time USGA Mid-Amateur champion. An interesting fact about Smith is that he played with Arnold Palmer during his final round at the The Masters in 2004.

“We rarely have a mid-amateur win the event and so I told (The Country Club of Charleston) pro Hart Brown why don’t we give a medal to the low mid-amateur every year,” said Tournament Director David Humphreys. “So we have one made up and then Todd White a mid-amateur goes onto win so he got the trophy and the medal.”

The field will also feature the top ranked junior golfer Phillip Barbaree, the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur champion. In that event Barbaree made a remarkable comeback overcoming a five-hole deficit with eight-holes to play. Barbaree, a 2017 LSU commitment, has struggled with wrist tendonitis during recent months. The high school junior will tee off at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Among the other big names in the field is Caleb Proveaux, a senior at Clemson. Proveaux is a four year starter for the Tigers and has the low round record at Clemson with a 63 at the 2015 Palmetto Invitational. In 2012 Proveaux teed it up in the PGA Tour’s St. Jude Classic in Memphis, missing the cut by three after shooting 75-71.

2011 was a banner year for Proveaux as he won the National Junior Player of the Year award, Junior PGA Championship and was also a AJGA First-Team All- American. Proveaux is scheduled to set the peg into the ground Thursday at 9:00 a.m.

Thomas Lehman Jr., the son of 1996 British Open champion Tom Lehman will be in the field. The senior Lehman will be carrying his son’s bag this weekend. They will be on the first tee at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Other players of note include Alabama sophomore Tyler Hitchner (7:50 a.m.), Clemson freshman Jonathon Rector (12:40 p.m.), Wake Forest sophomore Clancy Waugh (1:20 p.m.) and Oklahoma State freshman Tyson Reeder (1:20 p.m.).

ABOUT THE Azalea Invitational

72 hole stroke play with a 54 hole cut on a 1925 Seth Raynor design. Good mix of college players and mid amateurs. 7 spots available in a qualifier. Impressive list of past champions at this traditional event. The Country Club of Charleston underwent a major renovation in 2006 (the tournament took at one year hiatus) and was ready for play for the 2007 Azalea.

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