Sophomore Preston French was the standout of the men’s golf team as he took first place at the Murray State Invitational Tuesday.
Placing fourth overall as a team at the two-day home tournament, the Racers fell to Lipscomb, Alabama State and Eastern Kentucky at Frances E. Miller Memorial Golf Course.
Head Coach Eddie Hunt said a few players competed well, but the rest of the team seemed to struggle.
“(French) had a really great tournament,” Hunt said. “We just didn’t get a good performance from the other team members, and I was disappointed. I feel like we really should have won the tournament.”
Lipscomb and Alabama State tied for first with a score of 857, and Eastern Kentucky followed with at a score of 860. Murray was one stroke behind with 361.
Hunt said going into the tournament the team was doing well, but it didn’t play very well.
“I don’t know if it was being at home and expecting a win and not getting it,” he said. “A couple of them responded really well, so it wasn’t the whole team. We were disappointed we didn’t win the tournament, especially by four strokes.”
Coach Hunt said he foresees French as possibly being his standout golfer of the season.
“Preston’s not only a good golfer, he’s probably the hardest working player I have and I think the results show that,” he said.
Hunt said French has worked hard over the summer and into the fall.
“He just played tremendous,” Hunt said. “I couldn’t ask for any more. We’ve always had a pretty dominant golfer over the years – a player of the year every year – and I think Preston has the ability to be able to do that. I think he has the opportunity to be one of the best golfers in the conference.”
French said he was more surprised by his winning performance than his coach.
“I guess I didn’t really expect it because I was behind going into the last day,” he said. “I played well all day, but in the end I gave a stroke away on 17, and I kind of thought it was going to cost me.”
French said it was a good feeling when he found out he won.
As the season progresses, both French and Hunt said they hope to gain experience as a team as they search for the five players to set the lineup.
“Half the team will play good, half the team will play bad,” French said. “I think it’s just about being patient – not just with a round, but over the course of the season. We have to stick with the process and try to get better instead of focusing on the results.”
Story by Mallory Tucker, Staff Writer