By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The first round of the 2015-16 season is officially in the books for the Tennessee Tech men's golf team, as the Golden Eagles wrapped up day one at the GolfWeek Program Challenge with plenty of room to move up and challenge for the top spot among the 18 teams present at the event.
Following the conclusion of the tournament's first 18 holes, the Tech squad found itself in a tie for ninth place overall with Campbell, just eight strokes out of second place. The five Golden Eagle golfers who made the trek to True Blue Golf Club combined to fire a 288, a score that last year would have been good enough to tie for the team's fifth-lowest round of the season.
Leading the charge on the first day of play for the Golden Eagles was senior Adam Cunningham, who posted a brilliant 4-under, 68 to rank in a tie for fifth overall in the 90-player field. Teeing off on the par-5 No. 10 hole, the Cookeville native jumped right out of the gate with a birdie and never looked back, posting three more circles on the back nine alone. Cunningham recorded just one bogey the entire round and finished just as he started, tapping in for a birdie to end the day.
Playing in his first collegiate event ever, true freshman Matthew Giles looked nothing like a newbie to the college ranks at True Blue, kicking off his first round of the year with a very solid 2-under, 70. The rookie notched seven birdies – including five over his first nine holes – to lead all participants at the event in the category and finish the day tied for 15th overall. He also started and ended with circles on his scorecard, birdieing the par-5 10th at the beginning of his round and the par-5 ninth at the conclusion.
Three more senior members of the Golden Eagle squad made up the final participants for the first round, led by Mitch Thomas. The Knoxville native overcame a slow start on the back nine to wrap up his first round of the year with a 2-over 74. Just two strokes back of his teammate, fellow senior Bryce Kendrick posted Tech's lone eagle of the day, double circling a three on his scorecard under the par-5 No. 4 hole. He tallied a 4-over 76 to round out the scoring for the team.
Back for his second semester on the Golden Eagle golf team after four seasons with the Tech football team, senior Neil Gannaway wrapped up his first 18 holes of the year with an 80.
Day two of the GolfWeek Program Challenge will commence Monday morning with the Golden Eagles due to tee off at approximately 6:30 a.m. CT.
Photo by Cody Bryant, TTU Photo Services