Men open season out West

Men’s golf teed off its spring season with its best round as a team coming in the second day of the Snowman Getaway Tuesday.

The tournament, held at the Palm Valley Golf Club in Goodyear, Ariz., provided the Racers an opportunity to play golf after battling a tough winter. The weather kept Murray State inside for the majority of its practices before the tournament.

“This has been the worst winter that I’ve had during my time as coach,” Head Coach Eddie Hunt said. “Normally you have some good and bad days, but this has been a terrible winter.”

The Racers had only played outdoors three times before they departed for the tournament, and it served as an opportunity to play golf in regular conditions.

Murray State accepted a chance to play out West, which was unique for the team.

“We normally open the season in Alabama, but it has been cold and wet down there, too,” Hunt said. “To get the season kicked off, I felt like we needed to go somewhere it was warm.”

The tournament hosted 17 teams from around the country and even featured two other OVC schools in Tennessee Tech and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Murray State took to the course early and got as low as 4-under par. That would be as low as the score got for the Racers, who carded a 297, leaving them in 14th place after the first round.

The Racers didn’t have much time to recover as they took to the course again for the second round that same day.

Murray State cut two strokes off its first-round score as junior Jordan Smith shot an even 72 to lead the Racers in the second round. After the first day of the tournament, sophomore Preston French led the Racers at 1-over through two rounds, good enough for 34th place individually, with Smith just one stroke behind.

The Racers saved their best round for Tuesday, as they shot a 287, eight strokes better than their previous round. Leading the day was sophomore Brock Simmons who carded a 2-under-par 70.

French and Smith led the Racers for the tournament and finished tied for 35th place with a 217. Simmons’ impressive final round moved him nearly 20 places up the leader board as he finished nine shots behind his teammates.

“We got some good experience and played in some great weather,” Hunt said. “This should get us ready for the next tournament.”

Murray State will return to action at the 2014 Grover Page Classic in Jackson, Tenn., March 10-11.

Story by Tom Via, staff writer