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CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University's men's golf team opens its 2012 spring season next week when the Thunderbirds host the Eighth Annual Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational at Sunbrook Golf Course in St. George on Feb. 13.

The tournament will be contested over the Point and Woodbridge nines at Sunbrook, a par 72 layout that will play at 6,828 yards.

Seniors Jeff Evans and Brad Millard, sophomores Nic Booth and Jake Holt and freshman Sammy Cole are likely to compete for the Thunderbird team, while senior Jordan Orth, sophomore Greg Kerber and freshman Tyler Hunt will compete as individuals.

Fourteen teams make up this year's field, including Boise State, Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge, College of Charleston, Dixie State, Oral Roberts, Seattle U., Utah State, Utah Valley, Weber State, Western Illinois and host Southern Utah.

The defending team champion is Dixie State, which claimed the title by shooting 6-under par 570 last year. Utah Valley's Mason Cooper claimed medalist honors after shooting 67-70 for a total 137, two shots better than Dixie State's Tyler Reardon and College of Charleston's Alex Ellis.

Six different teams have claimed the previous seven tournament titles. University of Denver won the inagural tournament in 2005, then SUU won it in back-to-back years, in '06 and '07. Kentucky was the team champ in 2008, followed by San Jose State in '09, College of Charleston in 2010 and Dixie State last year.