DICKSON, Tenn. – Friday was a very good day for the Tennessee Tech men's golf team at the GreyStone Golf Course, especially freshman Adam Cunningham.
The Cookeville rookie chopped a whopping 14 shots off his first round score and finished the day with a four-under-par 68, helping the Golden Eagles leap from sixth into third place with one round remaining at the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
Opening play tied for sixth, Tech had the second-best team total of the second day at two-under 286, leaping ahead of Belmont and Murray State into third place.
The Golden Eagles stayed out of trouble for most of the day Friday, scoring just three double bogeys on their 90 holes of play. Tech's five players had 18 birdies, one eagle (by Cunningham), 15 bogeys and 55 pars.
Austin Peay posted a 284 for the low round of the day, increasing its lead to nine shots over second-place Jacksonville State. The Govs are at 568, following identical rounds of 284. JSU jumped from third into second, passing Belmont with a 289 Friday, and sits at 577.
The Golden Eagles followed their 295 on Thursday with a 286 Friday, and find themselves in third at 581, one shot ahead of Belmont, which fired a 294 to slip from second to fourth.
Murray State is close behind at 584, followed by Eastern Kentucky (586), Morehead State (587), Tennessee State (588), SIU Edwardsville (592), UT Martin (597) and Eastern Illinois (609).
Cunningham, meanwhile, rebounded from an opening round 82 to shoot a 68 on Friday, tied with three other players for the lowest round of the tournament. His 150 total has him tied for 33rd place. He posted two birdies and one bogey on the front nine, before closing with an eagle three on the par 5 ninth hole. He managed two more birdies and one bogey on the back nine.
The Golden Eagle leader after two rounds is sophomore Lee Whitehead, who is in eighth place at two-under 142 after shooting en even-par 72 on Friday. Senior Lee Maxwell is tied for 17th place, shooting a one-under 71 for a 36-hole total of 146. Senior Greg Kitts is two shots back, tied for 25th place after his scores of 73 and 75 left him at 148.
Mitchell Thomas, a member of the OVC All-Freshman team, rounds out Tech's lineup. He improved one stroke from a 77 to a 76 on Friday and is tied for 44th place at 153.
Mitchell and Kitts each opened with a double bogey on the first hole of the day, then settled down after that. Kitts had three birdies and four bogeys, while Mitchell three birdies, two bogeys and one additional double bogey.
Patrick Newcomb of Murray State is the individual leader, shooting a 69 Thursday and a 70 Friday, and sits at five-under 139. He holds a one shot lead over Brendan Cabalerro of UT Martin, who carded scores of 69 and 71 for his 140.
Five players are tied at 141, including Anthony Bradley and Dustin Korte from Austin Peay, Cameron Scitern and James Stepp of Tennessee State, and Ashton Van Horne of Belmont.
Whitehead and Tomasz Anderson of Jacksonville are toed for eighth at 142.
The final round on Saturday morning begins at 8 a.m., but sitting in the top three, the Golden Eagle players will be in the last five groups to step onto the first tee. Thomas goes first at 10:30, while Whitehead is the last to start teeing off at 11 a.m.
Tech is paired with APSU and JSU in the final five groups.