Racer golf ended its season April 27 with an eighth place finish at the OVC Men’s Golf Tournament Championship in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
For the third time in four years, the tournament’s third and final round could not be completed due to weather. The round began Sunday morning with good playing conditions, but the stormy weather moved in around noon.
The tournament was originally halted at noon and was delayed for more than an hour and a half due to lightning.
The teams then got in another hour of playing time before being stopped for good before 3 p.m.
As a result, the tournament was decided based upon the scores at the end of Saturday’s second round.
Jacksonville State took the top overall spot with a score of 567 – six shots better than Eastern Kentucky and Austin Peay State’s 573. UT Martin and Belmont rounded out the top five.
The Racers finished 39 shots off the pace with a score of 606, just two strokes behind Eastern Illinois. The team tied with Tennessee Tech for eighth in the 11-team field.
Junior Jordan Smith led the Racers with a 22nd place finish with a seven over score of 79 in the first round and a one under 71 in the second for an overall total of 150. Sophomore Jared Gosser came in two shots behind Smith, and sophomore Preston French finished with a 153.
Sophomore Duncan McCormick and freshman Matt Zakutney rounded out the five-man Racer team.
“It was very disappointing,” Smith said. “I didn’t play very well in the first round, and struggled for part of the second. Jared and Preston played alright the first round but didn’t play very well the second round.
“We just never could get four solid scores going.”
The senior-less team struggled throughout the 2013-14 season. The loss of OVC Champion and two-time Player of the Year Patrick Newcomb proved too big a void to fill for the young Racer team.
“You could just tell (Newcomb) was the leader and you could count on him to come in with a good score pretty much every round,” Smith said. “We just didn’t have that this year.”
Though the results may have not been what the team wanted, Smith said many of the younger players gained valuable experience this season.
“We all need to work really hard and improve this summer. We gained some experience this year and we’ll be looking for some guys to have better years next year. I think we have plenty of talent on the team to compete for a championship.”
The team returns all ten members next season. Additionally, Head Coach Eddie Hunt has signed three Kentucky natives to join as freshmen in the fall.
Lance Davis of Mayfield, Nick Choate of Cadiz and Daniel Taylor of Princeton will all join the Racers next season.
As the team’s senior leader next season, Smith’s goals for 2014-15 are clear.
“I want to win a championship next year because it’s my last year,” Smith said. “We will talk to the guys and let them know that’s what we want and we that we need to start working for it right now.”
Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff writer