Photo by Brent Beerends / MT Athletics Communications
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raider men’s golf team showed that they are still a force to be reckoned with after shooting four-over par as a team to win the Memphis Intercollegiate tournament at the Colonial Country Club in Memphis this Tuesday.
MTSU was supposed to open the season at the Ocean Course Invitational on September 11-12, but chose to go with the Memphis Intercollegiate due to the effects of Hurricane Irma on the Ocean Course located in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Raiders were one of fifteen teams in the tournament along with the University of Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans, Memphis Tigers, Georgetown Hoyas, Western Kentucky Hilltopers, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Stetson Hatters, University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks, Belmont Bruins, Fort Wayne Mastadons, Western Carolina Catamounts, IUPUI Jaguars and Tennessee State Tigers.
After coming off of an NCAA regional appearance in the 2016-2017 season, head coach Brennan Webb led his team into the new campaign without any seniors on the roster.
Although the Raiders faltered a bit in round three, their performance was still good enough to defeat UALR by one stroke after falling behind by a stroke on the final day.
The Blue Raiders led the tournament in eagles with two and came in second in pars with 180.
Individually, Chip Thomas tied for the fourth highest average on the par four’s with an even par average of four strokes per par four.
For a look at the complete team and individual leaderboards, click here.
Day one: Rounds one and two recap
At the end of the first two rounds on Monday, the Raiders found themselves in a tie for first place with UALR at one-over par.
The day was a long one, with a lightning delay occurring in round two that forced players to retreat to the club house. The stormy weather eventually cleared out and play resumed just an hour and ten minutes later.
The Blue Raiders were led on day one Thomas, who turned in rounds of 72 and 70 to place him in sixth place on the individual leaderboard. Thomas found himself at one-over on the front nine in round one, but battled back to birdie on 11 and 13 to save par for the round.
In the second round, Thomas would eagle the par five sixteenth hole to solidify his two-under par score to end the day.
The Raiders placed two more top-15 individual performers in redshirt freshman Tyler Johnson and junior Marcus Byrd.
Johnson was tied for 11th at the end of the day Monday, shooting a two-under par 70 in round one and a one-over 73 in round two. Johnson led the Raiders with six birdies at the end of the first two rounds.
Byrd shot an even par 72 in both of his rounds to place him fourteenth at the end of the day. Byrd’s biggest moment of the day came at the end of round one, when he eagled the par five to end the round at one-under.
Sophomore Tanner Owens made his MTSU debut after sitting out last spring. Owens transferred from Virginia Tech after the fall, where he competed in three tournaments. Owens found himself sitting at 12-over heading into the final round.
Day two: Round three recap
After coming into the day at one-over par, the Blue Raiders slipped up a bit and ended the tournament at four-over.
The biggest news of the day was that after they fell behind by two storkes to UALR, but UALR’s late double bogey from Trent Jones would put the Raiders ahead for good as they held on to win it on the par five eighteenth hole.
Middle Tennessee was led in the final round by the clutch performance of Johnson, who birdied five times on the day including a big birdie on the eighteenth to preserve the win.
Owens turned his play around going into the second day, shooting a one-under 71 to end a productive first tournament as a Raider.
Thomas finished the day with a three-over 75, bringing his tournament total to one-over, good for eleventh place individually.
Byrd’s three-over par 219 for the tournament would place him in the top 20 on the individual leaderboard as he tied for seventeenth.
Beckner has impressive outing as an individual player
Blue Raider junior James Beckner participated in the Memphis Intercollegiate as an individual player. As a sophomore, Beckner participated in four of five events in the fall and didn’t see any action in the spring.
In his first tournament since last fall, Beckner finished at even par for the tournament.
After his first two rounds on Monday, Beckner was in a tie for fourth place with a two round total of three-under par and ended up in a tie with Tyler Johnson for third place on the individual leaderboard.
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