By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
GULF SHORES, Ala. – Both youth and experience played a crucial role in helping the Tennessee Tech men's golf team get off to an excellent start at the ASU Fall Beach Classic Sunday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles completed the first of three rounds at the Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club in third place overall.
Competing against 10 other teams, including Ohio Valley Conference rivals Murray State and UT Martin, the Tech squad received great leadership from a veteran leader and a sneaky good rookie. The Golden Eagles completed round one of the event with a 298, finishing just five strokes back of host Arkansas State and eight strokes shy of tournament leader Auburn.
Senior Mitch Thomas and freshman Matthew Giles paced the TTU five on Sunday, each tying for seventh place in the 62-man field after posting rounds of 73. After a start that left him at 2-over through nine holes, Thomas rebounded nicely over the back nine, notching seven straight holes of par or better work to close out a 1-over day. Giles also posted a better second half to his round after shooting 38 on the front, recording two birdies and six pars to also finish at 1-over.
Just a couple strokes back of his teammates, A.J. Wilkerson wrapped up his first round of the tournament at just 3-over par, racking up three birdies along the way. The sophomore tied for 18th through the first 18 holes.
Tied for 32nd after the first day, senior Bryce Kendrick completed the first round of his final fall tournament in purple and gold with a 5-over 77. Rounding out Tech's participants in the event was redshirt freshman Ben Huskey. The youngster concluded Sunday in a tie for 59th after an 84.
The Golden Eagles will return to the links of the Cypress-Marsh course Monday morning to kick off second round action. Fans can follow the action via live stats here.
Photo by Rob Schabert, TTU Sports Information