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Top player's clubs stolen as #1 Pepperdine starts spring season
- Golf Channel screen shot
- Golf Channel screen shot

The #1 Pepperdine men's golf team begins the spring season by hosting the Southwestern Invitational at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, California.

The Waves, who were #1 when last year's college season got cut short by COVID-19, picked up where they left off in the fall and have retained their top ranking going into the spring.

Now, though the battle has been joined as schools that sat out the fall semester are now finally back in the fray as the spring season begins.

For Joe Highsmith (Lakewood, Wash.), the spring has gotten off to a disconcerting start. Just two days before the start of the Southwestern Invitational, the Pepperdine junior discovered that his golf clubs had been stolen from the trunk of his car as it sat in his driveway.

“I went out to get something from my car Saturday morning and all the stuff from my trunk was in the backseat, and normally my back seat is empty, so I knew I didn’t put it there,” said Highsmith to Golf Channel's Brentley Romine. “And then I go to the trunk, and my clubs are gone.”

With two days to scramble, Highsmith received custom built long clubs from Titleist, and borrowed a set of irons and wedges from Nick Geyer, a mid-amateur player who works at Scotty Cameron. He went to a local golf store to find a putter.

The spring season began on a cold, breezy day at North Ranch. For the Pac-12 and ACC schools in the field, it represents their first competitive action of the entire school year.

For the first time, the Southwestern Invitational is being televised.

Golf Channel will televise competition live each day (Mon. 1/25, Tues. 1/26, and Weds. 1/27) from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Eastern time.

One state over, the Arizona Intercollegiate teed off at Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson in similarly blustery (and even wetter) weather. For the hosts, the University of Arizona, as well as many of the western teams in the field, it is the first tournament of the school year.

The weather was better -- overcast but warm -- for the Rice Intercollegiate held at Westwood Country Club in Houston, which is featuring an all-Texas field.

On the east coast, two events teed off. The Timuquana Collegiate, played at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla., is hosting a diverse field from the southeast, mid-atlantic, and midwest regions of the country.

And in South Carolina, the Any Given Tuesday Intercollegiate is hosting a group of southeastern schools at Oak Point Golf Club at Kiawah Island.

ABOUT THE Southwestern Invitational

54-hole men's college tournament with team (best four scores of five players) and individual competitions. The Southwestern Invitational is the combination of two previously existing tournaments: the Southwestern Intercollegiate (started by USC in 1978) and the Jones Invitational (hosted by Pepperdine since 2014).

View Complete Tournament Information

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