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Golden Eagles hope to build on past successes at Great Smokies Invitational

Bell, Randolph, Shepherd all carded season-bests at last year's tournament

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — A 23-team field awaits Tennessee Tech at the Great Smokies Invitational, the squad's third tournament of the 2011 fall season, on Monday.

The event, hosted by Western Carolina at the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort & Spa in Waynesville, N.C., is in its 13th season. Tennessee Tech is one of only two teams playing in this year's tournament that has won the event previously — the Golden Eagles finished first in 1999 and 2000.

Tech has played two tournaments so far this season, finishing sixth out of 10 teams at the Drake Creek Invitational last week and sixth out of eight at the Chris Banister Classic, where rain canceled all but the first round of play.

The 36-hole Great Smokies Invitational will begin with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. CDT Monday morning, with the final round also teeing off by shotgun start at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

"I am very excited to see what is in store for this event," first-year Tennessee Tech head coach Polk Brown said. "From what I have heard, Waynesville is a beautiful place with a great golf course. The girls have always enjoyed going there, and they are heading in the right direction in terms of performance. We are working incredibly hard, and I look forward to seeing how things go on Monday and Tuesday."

Teams will play the Carolina and Blue Ridge courses. The Carolina course will play 2,979 yards while Blue Ridge, which features three par-3 and three par-5 holes, measures to 2,953 yards.

The field includes Ohio Valley Conference member Eastern Kentucky and soon-to-be member Belmont. Also competing will be Appalachian State, UAB, Bowling Green State, The Citadel, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville, Louisiana-Monroe, Methodist College, Newberry College, Northwood University, Presbyterian, Radford, Rollins College, Savannah College of Art and Design, South Alabama, South Carolina State, UNC Greensboro, South Carolina-Upstate, Western Carolina and Western Kentucky.

At last year's Great Smokies Invitational, the Golden Eagles turned in a ninth-place finish out of 24 teams behind a torrid final round that helped them move up from 14th on the second day.

Three current Tech golfers carded their best rounds of the 2010-11 season at the event — Katherine Bell fired a first-round 69 and was tied for the invidual lead after day one, while Amanda Randolph shot a 71 and Amber Shepherd finished with a 73 in the second round.

In this year's event, head coach Polk Brown will put forth a lineup consisting of Katherine Bell, Madalyn Everts, Katy Beth Glover, Brandy VanEtten and Amber Shepherd. Amanda Randolph will play as an individual.

Results will be posted each day on TTUSports.com.