What You Need to Know:
* With an automatic bid to NCAA Regional play on the line, the defending champion Georgia State men’s golf team will open the Sun Belt Championship on Sunday at The Raven Golf Club in Miramar Beach, Fla.
* Georgia State has advanced to match play in each of the first two years the format was used, compiling a 3-1 team record and 13.5-6.5 individual record.
* The Panthers have won eight conference tournaments and finished as a runner-up eight times in the last 19 years.

ATLANTA – Looking to defend its title and advance to a fifth-straight NCAA Regional, the Georgia State men’s golf team will open the Sun Belt Championship on Sunday at The Raven Golf Club in Miramar Beach, Fla.

After earning the No. 4-seed in match play last season, the Panthers topped No. 1-seed Troy 4-1 before taking out No. 2-seed Georgia Southern 3-2 to earn the eighth conference title in program history.

The format will slightly change from what the Panthers saw in Florida last year. The 12-team field will play 54 holes of stroke play on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The top four teams will then qualify for match play with No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3 scheduled for Wednesday morning. The winners will advance to the championship match on Wednesday afternoon.

Since 1998, Georgia State has finished in the top three in the conference tournament all but three times with eight titles and eight second-place finishes.

In the two years with a match play format, the Panthers have compiled a 3-1 record and a 13.5-6.5 individual match record during that stretch.

“Our guys have practiced hard the last couple of weeks and are ready to go win another championship,” head coach Chad Wilson said. “We are the defending champions and have a target on our back, but we are also very comfortable with the course and love the match play format. We also know that the only way to get back to NCAA Regional play is to win the tournament and that is our clear goal heading to Florida.”

Georgia State’s line-up will include senior Max Herrmann, juniors Severin Soller, Nick Budd and Nathan Williams, along with sophomore Josh Edgar.

Herrmann won low medalist honors at the 2016 Sun Belt Championship and is coming off a fifth-place finish at the 3M Augusta Invitational to open April.

Budd leads the Panthers with a 73.11 scoring average and four top 25 finishes this year, including a tie for ninth at the 3M Augusta Invitational.

Soller who is in his first season with the Panthers won the Bridgestone Stroke Play to open the season and is third on the team with a 73.35 scoring average.

Williams is tied for the lowest round of the year by a member of the team as he shot 67 in the second round of the Autotrader Collegiate Classic. Edgar rounds out the line-up after competing in seven tournaments this year. He has a 73.8 scoring average this spring, tied for the third-lowest on the team.

Following a Saturday afternoon practice round, the championship will get underway on Sunday. For the first round, Georgia State will be paired with Arkansas State and Georgia Southern, teeing off a 9:15 a.m. ET on Hole No. 1. Live scoring of the event will be available at GolfStat.com.

With a conference championship win, Georgia State will automatically earn a spot in NCAA Regional play which will be played May 14-16 at six national sites. The NCAA championship is scheduled for May 25-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.