EUGENE, Ore. - Just over seventh months after the Oregon Ducks men's golf team thrilled their fans with a wild ride to the semifinals at the NCAA Championships, head coach Casey Martin's squad kicks off its 2013 slate this week at the Amer Ari Invitational in Waikoloa, Hawaii.

The Ducks placed 12th at the Amer Ari Invitational a year ago and will travel back to King's Course on Wednesday (Feb. 6) for the three-day tournament.  

Oregon enters the 2013 season after matching its best finish in school history a season ago.  The 2011-12 Ducks captured third place at the NCAA Championships after a runner-up finish at the NCAA Regionals.

Martin returns for this seventh year at the helm of the Oregon men’s golf program this season. Also back with him from last year’s squad is assistant coach Brad Lanning and seven letterwinners, including redshirt senior Robbie Ziegler, who has appeared in 38 career tournaments.

In the 2012 National Semifinals, Oregon’s bid to upset top-ranked Texas came up one hole short in the Longhorns’ 3-2 victory over the Ducks.

“We played incredibly good golf and even the guys who lost played really well,” Martin said of the match. “Texas was just a stroke or two better than us that day and I give them all the credit in the world because I think we made them earn it.”

Other returnees for the Ducks include seniors Tyler Parker and Jack Pennington.  Parker played in four tournaments during the fall season and finished in a 10th-place tie at the Saint Mary's Invitational and a 15th-place tie at the Kikkor Husky Invitational.  Pennington's lone fall invitational was at the Kikkor Husky, where he finished 31st.

Rounding out Oregon's returning letterwinners are Ben Itterman, the team's only junior, sophomore Rak Cho, who finished in a sixth-place tie at the Kikkor Husky in the fall, sophomore Tye Gabriel and sophomore Jonathan Woo, who place in a tie for seventh at last year's NCAA Regionals and competed at the 2012 NCAA Championships.

Martin's six newcomers on the 2013 men's golf team are Max Carter, Zach Foushee, Brandon McIver, Sulman Raza, Ryann Ree and Noah Sheikh

The Ducks entered the 2012-13 season ranked 14th in the country.  Following the Amer Ari Invitational, Oregon will compete in six tournaments before the Pac-12 Championships on April 29-May 1 in Los Angeles, Calif.  One of those six tournaments includes the Oregon Duck Invitational at the Eugene Country Club on March 25-26.

The Amer Ari Invitational, hosted by the University of Hawaii begins on Wednesday (Feb. 6) and concludes Friday (Feb. 8).  Live coverage provided by Golfstat.com can be found by clicking here.

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