The Murray State men’s golf team finished in seventh place out of 14 teams at the Tennessee State Big Blue Intercollegiate at the President’s Reserve Course at the Hermitage Golf Course in Nashville, Tenn. The tournament, which took place Monday and Tuesday, capped off the regular season for the Racers.
After the first 36 holes, Murray State held steady at sixth place, turning in scores of 294+292=586. The Racers slipped up in the third round Tuesday morning but only fell to seventh place, finishing with a round score of 307 for a total score of 893.
Head Coach Eddie Hunt was positive when commenting on his team’s performance this weekend.
“I was pleased for the most part,” Hunt said. “We could have played better but you can always say that I feel like.”
The Racers’ top-five finishers were all within six shots of one another at the end of the third round. Hunt said that consistency is one of the team’s main strengths heading into the OVC Tournament next week.
“We have been playing much more consistent,” Hunt said. “All five players contributed to our score. There’s not a whole lot of difference between our No. 1 player and our No. 5 player. If we can keep getting good performances from everybody I think that’s really going to help our team.”
Sophomore Jared Gosser turned in the lowest total score for the Racers as he shot 221 for the tournament, taking 16th place overall. Junior Jordan Smith was close behind, taking 18th place with a score of 222. Preston French, Daniel Harper and Matt Zakutney rounded out the team scores, placing 27th, 38th and 54th, respectively. In individual play, sophomore Duncan McCormick found himself in 31st place while T.J. Ferry finished in 36th.
“One thing that has really been different this year than in past years is that we are very young and inexperienced,” Hunt said. “As a golf team, those are two things that are hard to overcome sometimes, but they’ve all worked really hard.”
With the OVC Tournament only a week away, Hunt is looking to his underclassmen to perform when the lights are shining brightest.
“We just have a couple of kids who played in the OVC Tournament last year so they have some experience but we have at least three that’s never played in the OVC,” Hunt said. “We’re just trying to get acclimated to the conditions and it’s a little more pressure.”
The importance of the OVC Tournament is not lost on Hunt, who has coached the Racers for 12 years.
“At our level the OVC Tournament is just so important because if you win that you get to go on to the next level,” Hunt said. “Austin Peay and Jacksonville State have been playing well all season but after that I think it’s really wide open among the rest of the teams. As long as we can get a good score in the first round and get in the mix I think that will really help us as the tournament goes along.”
The OVC Tournament will kick off April 25th at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Mobile, Ala.
Story by Peter Northcutt, Staff writer