ST. GEORGE, Utah — Utah State's men's golf team will begin its 2012 spring season today at the eighth annual Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational hosted by Southern Utah University. The two-day tournament will be held at the Sunbrook Golf Club in St. George, Utah.

The 36-hole tournament will be contested over the Point and Woodbridge nines. The tournament will play at par-72 over the 6,828-yard layout.

Dixie State claimed the team championship last year with a 6-under 570, while Utah Valley’s Mason Cooper was the individual champion with a score of 7-under par 137.

This year's 14-team field includes Boise State, Cal Poly, Cal StateBakersfield, 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.

Scheduled to compete for the Aggies will be seniors Austin French and Chanse Godderidge, junior Brendan Dennis, sophomore Tanner Higham and freshman Tanner Jenson. Two Aggies will also compete as individuals during the tournament in freshmen Brennan Coburn and Andrew Paulson.

During its fall season, Utah State played in five tournaments with its best finish coming at the Weber State-hosted Wildcat Invitational as USU finished in eighth-place out of 11 teams.

Coburn led Utah State during the fall season as he had a stroke average of 75 in 15 rounds, including a season-best 24th-place finish at the Weber State-hosted Battle at the Tetons.

Last year, Utah State finished in sixth-place at the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational with a 16-over par 592 (290-302). Godderidge (71-75) tied for 23rd last year with a score of 2-over par 146, while Dennis tied for 40th with a 7-over 151 (76-75) and French placed 45th with an 8-over 152 (76-76).

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.