MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – A brilliant first round had the Tennessee Tech men's golf team in a tie for the lead Monday on the opening day of the Bash at the Beach Collegiate, but struggles in the second round dropped the Golden Eagles 10 spots to finish the first two rounds in a tie for 11th place with 18 holes left to play.
Paced by senior Neal Gannaway's three-under-par 68 in the team's first 18 hole effort of the spring season, the Golden Eagles put together a sensational team score of 283. That placed Tech in a tie with Western Kentucky among the 19 teams battling in the 54-hole tourney, hosted by Appalachian State at the par-71, 6741-yard Surf Golf & Beach Club.
But on the second tour of the layout, only Mitch Thomas managed to find any consistency and the Golden Eagles recorded a team score of 306. That left Tech with a 36-hole total of 589 and put them in a deadlock with West Georgia, 26 shots behind second-round leader James Madison's 291-272—563.
Arkansas State, which was two strokes behind Tech and WKU at 285 after one round, added a 281 in the second and sits in second place at 566. The Hilltoppers had a second round 292 and are tied with Gardner-Webb and Appalachian State for third at 575.
Gannaway blazed his way to a 68 in the first round, his career-best scoring round, but he slipped to a 74 in the second round. He is tied for 10th overall at 142 heading into Tuesday's final round.
Thomas carded rounds of 73 and 72 and sits in a tie for 27th at 145. Bryce Kendrick is toed for 52nd place. His 150 total included rounds of 71 and 79. Freshman Matthew Giles is two strokes back at 152, posting scores of 72 and 80.
The fifth player in the Tech lineup, A.J. Wilkerson opened with a 77 in the first round, but an injury forced him to withdraw from the second round. He will also miss Tuesday's final round, leaving coach Polk Brown a man short with four entries.
Also in the tournament field, competing on an individual basis, Benjamin Huskey scored identical rounds of 76 and is tied for 71st place at 152.
The individual leader is Patrick Moriarty of Appalachian State after shooting rounds of 71 and 65 for a 136, putting him one shot ahead of Andrew Huseman (68-69) of Arkansas State.
Radford (576) heads up the second group of five teams, followed by Belmont (579), Oakland (583), George Washington (587), and Valparaiso (588). Tech and West Georgia are one shot back at 589, followed by St. Bonaventure (590), George Mason (594), Longwood (598). Fairleigh Dickinson (616), High Point (619), North Carolina Central (624) and Holy Cross (627).