February 8, 2011

Golf teams have uphill lie in 2011, according to preseason poll

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech golf teams will each be battling in underdog roles this spring, according the preseason poll of Ohio Valley Conference head coaches. The Tech women's team is projected for sixth place while a youth-laden Tech men's team is pegged for ninth place.

Both Jacksonville State teams have been picked as the 2011 OVC favorites. The results of the preseason vote were released Wednesday.

On the men’s side Jacksonville State received seven of the nine first-place votes to finish with the most points (63) while defending champion Murray State received the other two votes and finished second (55) in the voting. Eastern Kentucky was tabbed third (50) and followed by Austin Peay (41), UT Martin (37), Eastern Illinois (24), Tennessee State (20), Morehead State (19) and Tennessee Tech (15).

Jacksonville State has won two OVC men’s golf championships (2004, 2007) since joining the league in 2003-04. The Gamecocks have finished third as a team each of the last two years although they produced the championships individual medalist twice in the last four years. During the fall season the team had the lowest scoring average of any OVC team (287.8) and had a record-setting team score of 29-under par in the second round of the F&M Bank Invitational. After finishing second by a lone stroke two years ago, Murray State claimed its fourth overall OVC Championship last season. During the fall season the Racers Cameron Carrico led all OVC golfers in stroke average (71.4). Four different teams have won the OVC Championship over the past four years as no OVC men’s team has repeated since Austin Peay won three-straight crowns from 2001-03.

Three teams split the first-place votes on the women’s side with Jacksonville State receiving four of the eight votes in edging out two-time defending champion Murray State by two points (44-42). Morehead State was just one point behind the Racers in third place overall (41). Austin Peay was picked fourth (32) and was followed by Eastern Kentucky (26), Tennessee Tech (18), Eastern Illinois (14) and Tennessee State (7).

Jacksonville State dominated the OVC women’s golf scene from 2005-08, winning four-straight championships over that time period. The team has been the runner-up each of the last two seasons but had a great fall campaign, when they led the league in team stroke average (298.8). During the fall the team played in three 54-hole events and set the three lowest 54-hole scoring totals in school history. Lucia Fernandez Valdes led the OVC in scoring average (73.2) by a full stroke in the fall events. Murray State has won each of the last two OVC Championships, increasing its total to a record eight since 1994. Morehead State, who has been third at the last two OVC Championships, had two of its golfers (Emma Jonsson and Marisa Kamelgarn) in the top three of stroke average leaders in the OVC during the fall.

For the second year in a row the OVC Men’s and Women’s Championships will be held at the GreyStone Golf Club in Dickson, Tenn. The women’s championship will be held on April 21-23 while the men’s championship is set for April 25-27.

Coach Craig King's men's team gets the spring season underway March 7-8 in Birmingham, Ala., at the Samford Intercollegiate. The Golden Eagle women's squad, under the direction of head coach Brandy Stout, kicks off the spring season March 14-15, also playing at the Samford Intercollegiate. Both season-opening tourneys will be played at Limestone Springs Golf Course.

2010-11 OVC Golf Preseason Predicted Order of Finish
(as voted on by the league head coaches)

Men’s Predicted Order of Finish
1.  Jacksonville State (7 first-place) - 63 points
2.  Murray State (2) - 55
3.  Eastern Kentucky - 50
4.  Austin Peay - 41                  
5.  UT Martin - 37
6.  Eastern Illinois - 24
7.  Tennessee State - 20
8.  Morehead State - 19
9.  Tennessee Tech - 15

Women’s Predicted Order of Finish
1.  Jacksonville State (4 first-place) - 44
2.  Murray State (1) -  42
3.  Morehead State (3)- 41
4.  Austin Peay - 32
5.  Eastern Kentucky - 26
6.  Tennessee Tech - 18
7.  Eastern Illinois - 14
8.  Tennessee State -  7