Tech golfers ninth after first day of Grub Mart Intercollegiate

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- The Tennessee Tech men's golf team will try to make up some ground Tuesday when it finishes play in the Grub Mart-Young Oil Intercollegiate, hsted by Jacksonville State Univerity. After Monday's first 18 holes, the Golden Eagles are in ninth place in the 10-team field.

Tech is within striking distance of several teams heading into the final round of the tournament, which was shortened from 54 holes to 36 because of less-than-perfect weather conditions in central Alabama.

St. John's University owns the team lead at eight-over 296, with host Jacksonville State just one stroke back in second place on the 6,949-yard, par 72 Silver Lakes Golf Course. SIU Edwardsville is third at 303, followed by Armstrong Atlantic (309) and Stetson (311).

With a solid finish Tuesday, the Golden Eagles could finish anywhere in the second five. Currently Ohio Valley Conference foes Austin Peay and Morehead State are tied for sixth at 316, with UT Martin in eighth place at 319. Tech is ninth at 322, with Lewis University in 10th place at 336.

Senior Josh Simer is Tech's leader, closing play Monday with a 77 to put him in a tie for 16th place. Jake Heatherly is tied for 26th place after shooting an 80. Travis Ramsey is next, tied for 36th place at 82, followed on the Golden Eagle scoresheet by Wesley Korth at 83 and Blake Garrison at 89.

Preston Marshall, competing as an individual, shot 87, and is tied for 51st place.

The individual tournament leader is Mike Ballo, Jr., of St. John's at two-under 70, with Jacksonville State's Gonzalo Berlin in second place, one shot behind.

The final round will begin Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.