MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Hunter Richardson won his second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference medalist trophy as the University of Tennessee at Martin finished in fourth place at the 2017 OVC Golf Championships held at The Shoals on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
One year after he won the same tournament with a 211 (-5), Richardson tallied his fifth victory of the season and eighth career win by sharing co-medalist honors with Jacksonville State’s Bo Hayes. The duo each shot a 212 (-4) for the tournament, battling it out in the same playing group throughout the day.
Richardson overcame a four-shot deficit en route to a 73 (+1) today. The junior from Clarksville, Tenn. generated three birdies in the third round, with his last birdie coming on Hole No. 14 to take a one-shot overall lead over Hayes. After a Richardson bogey and a Hayes par on Hole No. 17, each golfer parred the final hole to enter the clubhouse in a three-way tie with Tennessee Tech’s Charles Seals, who led the tournament after two rounds of play. After an approximately 75-minute wait while the remaining three teams finished up the tournament, Richardson and Hayes were each crowned as Co-Medalists.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Richardson was named OVC Golfer of the Year by the league’s head coaches. A three-time All-OVC honoree, Richardson becomes the first UT Martin player to earn that prestigious award while becoming the seventh golfer to win the OVC Championship in back-to-back seasons (first since Brett Alexander from Middle Tennessee won three straight times in 1998-2000).
“Hunter is a special young man,” Skyhawk head coach Jerry Carpenter said. “He has been a very good player for our program. Being a medalist for the second time was extra special. It was tough out there today and he did a good job. I’m very proud of him.”
As a team, UT Martin moved up one spot in the standings after carding a 308 (+20) in the final round. The Skyhawks finished with a score of 888 (+24) while Jacksonville State (866, +2) won the team championship.
Tyler Guy concluded his collegiate career as the second-best finisher for UT Martin, securing a 77 with a pair of birdies. Fellow senior and All-OVC honoree Austin Swafford (78) had three birdies while freshman Jack Story and senior Gavin Shellnut tallied scores of 80 and 81, respectively.
For the tournament, Swafford finished with a 226 (+10) and was followed by Story (228, +12). Guy finished with a 230 (+14) and Shellnut completed his tournament with a 231 (+15).
“It was a good tournament for us,” Carpenter said. “The first two days, we played some good golf and today was a very difficult day. It was windy and that made it tough on this course. We didn’t play our best but the kids competed and hung in – that’s all I asked them to do. We’ll take that and build on it.”
With his victory, Richardson advances to the 2017 NCAA Regionals on May 15-17. He will find out his destination on the Golf Channel’s Golf Central Pregame Show, which will be aired on Thursday, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Potential sites include: Auburn, Wash.; Austin, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; College Grove, Tenn.; Stanford, Calif.; and West Lafayette, Ind.