GOLF TEAM READY FOR OVC CHAMPIONSHIPS IN DICKSON
April 23, 2013
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MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin golf team begins its quest for an Ohio Valley Conference championship on Thursday, April 25 when it hits the links in the first round of the league tournament held at GreyStone Golf Club in Dickson, Tenn.
The 54-hole tournament lasts through Saturday, April 27 and will feature 11 teams for the first time in OVC history. A practice round is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 before first round action opens on Thursday at 8 a.m.
Competing for the Skyhawks will be Brendon Caballero, Ben Reeves, Tyler Shellnut, Graham Sleigh and Tyler Guy. Head coach Jerry Carpenter feels confident in the five golfers who will represent UT Martin this weekend.
“This is the best team I’ve taken to the OVC championships in my 10 years at UT Martin,” Carpenter said. “Our guys’ confidence is at the highest point it’s been all year – we are playing the best golf at the perfect time.”
Carpenter has good reason to be excited about his team’s potential this weekend. The Skyhawks have carded three victories this spring against stiff competition, bringing home tournament wins at the Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate (Feb. 18 in Philadelphia, Miss.), Grover Page Glassic (March 12 in Jackson, Tenn.) and the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate (March 19 in Sevierville, Tenn.). UT Martin will look to improve on last year’s fifth place finish (874, +10) in the OVC Tournament.
“Statistically we have improved in just about every category from last year,” Carpenter said. “I attribute that to our hard work, dedication and our practice facility – that has made a huge difference.”
Caballero finished seventh at last year’s OVC championship and enters this weekend with a scoring average of 73.50. Reeves follows right behind with a 73.75 average, while Shellnut averages a 74.56 score. Sleigh placed ninth in the OVC championship last year and is responsible for an average of 74.83, while Guy comes in at a 75.59 average.
Reeves (Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate) and Shellnut (Skyhawk Classic) have each earned medalist honors this season, while Caballero and Sleigh have finished as high as second place in a tournament this year. In addition, Reeves and Guy are ranked in the top-25 in the nation in scoring average by freshmen.
A big part of the Skyhawks’ success has been its accuracy off the tee, as UT Martin ranks fifth nationally in fairways hit. That will be a big key for the Skyhawks at the familiar but challenging GreyStone – a course that has hosted the OVC championships each of the past four seasons.
“We are playing the golf course, not anybody else,” Carpenter said. “All of the kids have played there many times including junior golf tournaments. We have sat down and discussed the golf course and how we want to play it.”
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