After a second place finish at the Bobby Nichols Invitational hosted by Tennessee Tech March 16-17, the men’s golf team returned to play at the Florida Atlantic University Slomin Autism Championship in Lake Worth, Fla., finishing 16th in a field of 20.
Senior Jordan Smith led the Racers at 26th overall. Head Coach Eddie Hunt was pleased with the team’s showing in Tennessee as they faced many OVC teams, but he saw room for improvement at the March 27-28 tourney.
“It was a really good tournament,” Hunt said. “Then we went to Florida to play and I felt like we could have played better. It’s happened to us all year – we had two good rounds and we always end up, it seems like, the third round kind of kicks us out of everything.”
The team carded rounds of 286-308-296=900, with the first and last round being what Hunt expected.
“If we had done that in all three rounds, then we would have been really competitive and finished probably where we should have,” Hunt said. “We should have really been, I thought, in the top 10. But that bad round, it just happened. There were some good teams there, some teams we haven’t seen. We just didn’t respond in that second round. But everything else was pretty good.”
The Racers finished above Rhode Island, Bethune-Cookman and Morehead State, finishing behind Xavier, which totaled 894 over their three rounds.
Team leader Smith finished as one of only eight players in the tournament to have two or more sub-par rounds, scoring 70-79-71=220.
“Jordan had a really good tournament.” Hunt said. “Again, he had that bad round there in the middle, but the other two rounds were strong. Jordan has really played well all year. He should be an all-conference player.”
Junior Duncan McCormick followed Smith with a 51st place finish while juniors Preston French, Brock Simmons and Jared Gosser rounded out the field in team play.
Sophomore Matthew Zakutney placed 106th as an individual for the Racers.
“At this point, our lineup is still not set as far as OVC,” Hunt said. “We’re still looking for that fifth player. I think pretty much the top four is kind of solid. But I think we’re still trying to find the fifth guy in our lineup.”
The Racers have a short break before they return to the course at Tennessee State’s Big Blue Intercollegiate in Nashville, Tenn., April 13-14. Hunt expects to see six or seven OVC teams as the Racers prepare for to the OVC Championship lineup in Muscle Shoals, Ala., April 24-26.
Story by Mallory Tucker, Sports Editor