The men’s golf team placed third out of 16 teams at UT Martin’s Skyhawk Fall Classic Tuesday, but the standout of the tournament came from Murray State’s gold team.
Sophomore Chasten Howard shot the lowest round of the tournament, finishing the third round with a score of 66 and breaking 70 for the first time in his college career.
This score ties an all-time tournament low, matched only by Tyler Shellnet of UT Martin in 2012.
“I’ve worked really hard this year,” Howard said. “I’ve struggled a lot mentally in a lot of these tournaments, so being able to really perform at that level was a huge honor.”
Howard said he hit the ball well the first day, but his putting game was not working as well as he wanted. He said he knew if he found the ability to putt again he would be able to shoot a low score.
Howard said his goal for the tournament was to shoot even, so he was happy with the results.
Howard carded scores of 72 and 74 during the first two rounds of the tournament and accompanied teammate Jordan Smith with a score of 212 for seventh place out of 87 competitors.
Head Coach Eddie Hunt said he thinks Howard deserves a spot in the next tournament.
“We’ll take a couple of individuals to see how they play in the same conditions,” Hunt said. “I think by the last tournament of the fall we should have a set lineup to take us into the spring season.”
Howard said as his coach continues to search for his five-man lineup, the team works to constantly be at the top of its game.
“It is tough,” Howard said. “It’s kind of like you’re under a constant surveillance, but at the same time it keeps you in check, and you know you have to do well to have a shot at the next tournament.”
Howard said it gets competitive between teammates, but they are all happy if one player does well. He said they are all good friends.
According to both Hunt and Howard, there is no lack of talent on the team, but perhaps a lack of experience.
“If we actually find a set of five that can perform really well, I don’t think there’s any limit to what we can do,” Howard said. “We all have a lot of talent. I just hope that if I am in the five that I perform the way I know I can.”
The next tournament for the men’s team is Oct. 14-15, when it travels to Hopkinsville, Ky., for the Austin Peay Intercollegiate, where the Racers will see more of their competition within the conference.
Story by Mallory Tucker, Staff Writer