Chris Hall is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore.
That's an exaggeration, but the Sacramento State men's golf coach is tired of his team's low local profile and he's doing something about it.
"It's sad when we go to an area course and they don't know who we are or that Sac State even has a golf team," Hall said.
In response, Hall established the Sacramento State Invitational, a 14-team, 54-hole Division I tournament that will be contested Monday and Tuesday at Valley Hi.
Cal State Fullerton, at No. 91, is the highest-ranked team participating. UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount and Boise State will compete, as will five teams from Sac State's America Sky Conference Houston Baptist, Cal State Bakersfield, Southern Utah, Texas-Pan American and Chicago State.
It's not the strongest field, but it's a start of something that Hall intends to increase in prestige.
"I just want to get the town involved," he said. "We're a golf town, and I want to draw more attention to what's going on."
Sac State reached a D-I program-best national ranking of No. 84 last season, Hall's second at the school, and the postseason for the first time since going D-I in 1992. The Hornets, who are No. 160 this season, tied for 13th Tuesday in the 17-team Fresno State Lexus Classic, 64 strokes behind top-ranked Cal.
Hall's goals are a consistent top-100 ranking, postseason qualification, a title sponsor for the tournament (the Old Spaghetti Factory is hosting this year) and a program benefactor (Oregon has Phil Knight; Hall would love Phil Oates).
"I would love for someone to look at our program and say, 'Sac State, they're doing stuff,' " Hall said.
Tyler Torano of Loyola Marymount, at No. 150, is the highest-ranked individual in the field. Sac State is led by senior Ryan Williams, who is No. 240 but has shot par or better in eight of his past nine rounds.
Sac State also will be represented by junior Jordan Swanson, who plays out of Valley Hi, junior Jordan Weir, who is from El Dorado Hills, sophomore Owen Taylor and freshman Aaron Beverly.
Professional tournaments are often preceded by pro-ams, where amateurs pay for the privilege of playing alongside a pro. The Sac State Invitational will feature a college-am Sunday, which serves as a program fundraiser $125 includes a round at Valley Hi alongside a No. 1 player from one of the 14 teams, dinner and the satisfaction of giving the team a boost. Email Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
Monday's play begins with a 36-hole shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Tee times for Tuesday's 18 holes begin at 8 a.m. The public is welcome and there is no charge.
UC Davis' Demi Runas was named the Big West Conference Golfer of the Month in February. It was the fourth consecutive month she won the award. Runas is ranked No. 12 in the country for the 19th-ranked Aggies, who rallied Tuesday to finish fifth in the 14-team Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational in San Jose.
Natalie Gulbis (Granite Bay High School) does not have malaria, as was previous suspected. Gulbis, who withdrew from the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore last week, did so because of flu-like symptoms, the Golf Channel reported after speaking with Gulbis' agent.
Grant Norton (Rancho Murieta) won a Pepsi Tour event Sunday at Rancho Solano in Fairfield. He shot a 6-under-par 66 in the one-day tournament to win $1,000.
Kevin Lucas (Folsom) shot a final-round 6-under 66 at Black Horse in Seaside to tie for fifth in a Golden State Tour event last week. He earned $1,260. The tour begins a 54-hole tournament today at Bayonet.
Corey Pereira (Cameron Park) continued his hot play, winning the Future Collegians World Tour event in La Costa over the weekend by five strokes.
Monday is the deadline to enter the Sacramento City Men's Regional Four-Ball Championship. The event is contested at Bing Maloney over the weekends of March 16-17 and 23-24.
Call The Bee's Steve Pajak, (916) 326-5526.