By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
MURRAY, Ky. – Consistent play across the board proved more than enough for the Tennessee Tech men's golf team to find itself well within striking distance of a team title Monday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles wrapped up the first two rounds of the Murray State Invitational in second place.
Five members of the squad, including one Tech golfer playing as an individual, found themselves ranked in the Top 10 on the leaderboard after the first day of play at Miller Memorial Golf Course. After posting a 293 to rank in third place after one round, Tech took a huge step in making a run at a second team title in two years, firing off a 285 to finish at 578 for the day.
"I'm proud of the turnaround we were able to make from the first to the second round," head coach Polk Brown said. "It's a great position that we've put ourselves in and I'm looking forward to the opportunity for these young men to go out and play for a title tomorrow."
With 18 holes to play, Tech sat just six strokes back of both tournament host and leader Murray State and seven strokes ahead of third-place ranked Wright State.
Leading the Golden Eagles through the first day of action was senior Bryce Kendrick, whose 74-69=143 put him in a tie for third place overall in the 61-man field. The veteran tied his career-low round with the 2-under 69 and also tied for the lowest round in the tournament through the first 36 holes.
Pacing the Tech squad through the first 18 holes with a 1-under 70, senior Neil Gannaway finished the day in a tie for fifth place overall. The former Tech football player notched a 74 in the second round to finish just one stroke back of his teammate at 144. The 70 marked the lowest round of Gannaway's short career on the links for Tech.
Sitting in chipping distance of their teammates were fellow seniors Mitch Thomas and Adam Cunningham, who each tied for ninth place with scores of 146. Thomas posted back-to-back rounds of 73 while the Cookeville native, Cunningham, shaved six strokes off of his first-round 76 for a second-round 70.
Also tying for ninth place was sophomore A.J. Wilkerson. Making his debut in the 2015-16 season as an individual, he matched Thomas with consecutive rounds of 73 for a 146 overall. Rounding Tech's participants in the Murray State Invitational, true freshman Matthew Giles made huge strides after struggling in the first round.
With an 83 in the books through 18 holes, the youngster made very impressive adjustments to shave 10 strokes of his score and turn in a 73 for the second round. Giles sat in a tie for 46th at 156 after day one.
The Golden Eagles will look to make a major move upward over the final 18 holes of the tournament Tuesday morning with play set to begin at approximately 9 a.m. CDT.
Photo by Dave Winder, Murray State Sports Information