Whitehead, Thomas lead Golden Eagles to third in large field at Arkansas State

Whitehead, Thomas lead Golden Eagles to third in large field at Arkansas State

JONESBORO, Ark. – Tennessee Tech defeated 18 of the other 20 teams in the field – including all six other Ohio Valley Conference entries -- to capture third place Sunday at the Red Wolves Intercollegiate hosted by Arkansas State University.

Golden Eagle Lee Whitehead's name was atop the leaderboard when the field of 115 players completed the tourney's 54 holes.

That put the Tech senior from Knoxville into a playoff with Andri Bjornsson of Nichols State for individual medalist honors. Whitehead followed his Saturday rounds of 72 and 71 by fashioning a three-under 69 Sunday to place him in a tie for the lead at 212. Bjornsson opened with a 69 and 70 on Saturday, and closed play Sunday with a 73 for his 54-hole score of 212 to match Whitehead.

The pair went head-to-head on a sudden death playoff, which Bjornsson captured on the second hole at the RidgePointe Country Club.

The three-round performance by Whitehead placed him on the all-tournament team, along with junior teammate Mitch Thomas, who tied for fourth place overall with a score of 217. Thomas shot rounds of 71 and 73 on Saturday, and matched that with a 73 on Sunday.

For both Whitehead and Thomas, the all-tournament honor was the third of his career and first this season.

The Tech pair and Bjornsson were joined on the all-tournament team by Jordan Fahel of Illinois State and Jonathan Hewett of DePaul.  

Delta State, which went into the day holding third place after 36 holes, topped all challengers on Sunday, adding a 289 score for an 876 total. That was enough for an eight-shot win over DePaul, which closed with a 290 for its 884 total.

Tech's third place showing was tops among seven Ohio Valley Conference teams in the 21-team field, jumping ahead of Belmont, which opened the day in second place, and UT Martin, which started Sunday tied with the Golden Eagles. After rounds of 297 and 295 on Saturday, the Golden Eagles put a 294 on the scoreboard Sunday for an 886 to finish just 10 shots off the lead.  

Tech finished with a one-shot edge over host Arkansas State (887) in fourth place, and finished two strokes better than OVC rival UT Martin (888) to round out the top five.

Belmont (890) and Austin Peay (892) led the second five, followed by Illinois State (892), Florida Atlantic (894) and Marshall (895).

The remainder of the field included New Orleans (901), Nichols State (902), Missouri State (905), Northern Iowa (913), Creighton (917), Tennessee State (920), Southern Illinois (923), SIUE (929), North Dakota (935), Eastern Illinois (940), and Meridian Community College (952).

Junior Bryce Kendrick wrapped up play with a 75 Sunday to climb to a 46th place finish at 228,  followed by freshman Alexander Riddle in a tie for 79th place at 234. After opening with matching rounds of 76 Saturday, junior Adam Cunningham slipped to an 86 Sunday and finished in a tie for 92nd place at 238.

Junior Mason Griffin, competing as an individual, tied for 46th place at 228, finishing with a 76 Sunday.