Tech men's golf team climbs leaderboard, ties for seventh at GolfWeek Program Challenge

Tech men's golf team climbs leaderboard, ties for seventh at GolfWeek Program Challenge

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Strong play across the board proved more than enough for the Tennessee Tech men's golf team to make a push up the leaderboard Tuesday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles jumped three places in the standings at the GolfWeek Program Challenge to finish in a tie for seventh place.

Sitting at 1-over following the first two rounds of play at the True Blue Golf Club, the Tech men pushed it to another level on the final day, combining for an 8-under 280 to leapfrog several teams, including Ohio Valley Conference rival Austin Peay. The Golden Eagles finished at 288-289-280=857, placing first among the OVC's four participating teams and tying with Elon for seventh in the 18-team field.

In just his first-ever collegiate tournament, freshman Matthew Giles looked more like a seasoned veteran, leading the team over the three days on the links with a 70-71-69=210. Tying for 12th place in the 90-man field, Giles notched four more birdies on Tuesday to finish with 15 and tie the event's individual medalist (David Wicks of Jacksonville) and runner-up (Ryan Cole of James Madison) for the most of the tournament.

Senior Mitch Thomas nearly caught his rookie teammate, firing off an impressive 5-under 67 to finish tied for 14th after rounds of 74 and 70 on the first two days. The Knoxville native went bogey-free over his final 18 holes, compiling three birdies and an eagle to tie for the second-lowest score of the day. Combined with his efforts from Monday, Thomas played the final two rounds with just a single bogey and made a total of six birdies and an eagle.

Fellow senior Bryce Kendrick shot even par for his final round of action, turning in a final scorecard of 76-70-72=218 for the tournament. He recorded his tournament-best second eagle of the week on the par-5 No. 4 and added three birdies while finishing in a tie for 42nd place.

Another veteran of the Tech program, Adam Cunningham rounded out his first event of the year with a final-round mark of 76 and three-day total of 222.

Neil Gannaway made huge strides in his game over the final 18 holes, shaving nine strokes off his previous encounter with the course to chip in a 72 to the scoring and help Tech vault up the leaderboard. Thanks to four third-round birdies, the senior posted an 80-81-72=233 to wrap up the Golden Eagle participants.

The Tech squad will take a week's hiatus from official action before returning to the links on Sept. 21-22 for the Murray State Invitational.

Photo by Rob Schabert