MARTIN, Tenn. – Jerry Carpenter, the head golf coach at The University of Tennessee at Martin, gathered his golfers around the table Sunday night after the first round of the Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate at Dancing Rabbit Golf Course in Philadelphia, Miss.
His message to his six golfers was simple – “Back up what you did today on the golf course when you go out there tomorrow (in the final round).”
The Skyhawks shot a first-round 284 and led the Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate by 19 strokes. The 4-under par was the only under-par score in the first round from the 11 competing teams.
“I felt good about our possibilities,” Carpenter said about doing well in the second round.
The Skyhawks listened to the veteran coach and shot a second-round 292 to finish the first spring tournament with a two-round 576 (even par) and claim the Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate hosted by Jackson State.
Fairleigh-Dickson and Missouri-St. Louis shot a two-round 608 and finished second and third in the tournament.
Freshman Ben Reeves led the Skyhawks with a two-round 141 and was the tournament’s individual medalist. Senior Graham Sleigh finished two strokes behind Reeves and sophomore Brendon Caballero, this past year’s individual medalist finished tied for third with a two-round 144.
Junior Tyler Shellnut finished ninth in the tournament with a two-round 149. Freshman Tyler Guy shot a two-round 159, while Clay Harbin, competing as an individual and not on the UT Martin, fired a two-round 155.
“When you lead in Par 3-, Par 4-, Par 5-scoring, birdies and pars, you are going to win some golf tournaments,” Carpenter said.
Reeves led the tournament in Par 3-scoring and birdies (11), and he was second in Par 5-scoring.
“Our ball striking was good and that led to good Par 3-scoring,” Carpenter said. “Our tee shots were good and that helped us.
“The reason we were able to do so well is because we worked hard and we have a nice place to practice every day. Our practice facility made a difference.”
The Skyhawk golfers will return to action March 3-5 in the Samford Intercollegiate.