Mizzou hosts Tiger Invitational, looks to continue recent success

The Tigers will go for their third straight home win.

After a season full of travel and road tournaments, Missouri golf returns home to host the third annual Tiger Invitational this week on April 8 and 9. The Tigers have won the first two invitationals. They’ll look to make it three in a row and continue a strong season.

Last weekend, Missouri finished fourth in the Hootie at Bull’s Bay. This was arguably the Tigers’ best performance of the year as they finished ahead of two ranked teams, Duke and North Carolina State. Continuing to build on that momentum will be one of the focuses for the Tigers this week.

“When you get going and you get playing good at the end of the year, that’s really what counts,” coach Mark Leroux said. “To come from a tournament like the Hootie at Bull’s Bay, with such strong teams there, such highly ranked teams, and then you perform well. Then you come home… it’s great heading into the postseason.”

The Tigers were paced at the Hootie by junior Rory Franssen, who finished second overall at 10-under. The Hootie was Franssen’s second consecutive finish under par. Franssen made an impact immediately as a freshman, garnering all-SEC honors. He has not been able to recapture that success consistently.

“I think he would probably tell you, too, he hasn’t had quite the sophomore or junior season that he wanted, but talent shows, the cream rises to the top, and I think that’s what you’re seeing out of Rory right now,” said Leroux.

Franssen said he realizes his struggles, but knows that his best golf is still ahead of him.

“Everything came together,” Franssen said of his last tournament. “I’m just trying to keep my technique moving in the right direction.”

Aside from the momentum behind him, Franssen possesses another huge advantage this week: being able to golf on his home course.

“It’s nice being able to sleep in your own bed, and play a course that you always play,” Franssen said.

The Tigers’ knowledge of the course will be a key factor in winning the tournament. Senior Matt Echelmeier said he hopes to end his final regular season with a third straight win on his home course.

“We know all the lines out here,” Echelmeier said. “We know where all the trouble is, so it takes that uncertainty out of the occasion.”

The Tigers’ quest for a three-peat began Monday, April 8.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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