September 10, 2016

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MARTIN, Tenn. – Less than five months after capturing its first-ever Ohio Valley Conference title, the University of Tennessee at Martin golf team officially opens its 2016-17 campaign with an appearance in the Murray State Invitational on Sept. 12-13.

Skyhawk head coach Jerry Carpenter, who also guided UT Martin to its first NCAA Regional appearance last April, returns seven players from last season’s championship squad.

“We return four of our five starters from last year,” said Carpenter, who won his second career OVC Coach of the Year accolade in 2016. “Qualifying was very competitive and everybody posted very good scores this fall.”

UT Martin’s leading returner is junior Hunter Richardson, a two-time all-conference honoree who won Medalist honors at the OVC Championships last year. The Clarksville, Tenn. native ranked second in the league with a 71.0 scoring average in 2015-16.

The Skyhawks also return senior starters Gavin Shellnut, Austin Swafford and Tyler Guy this season. Shellnut (74.1) and Swafford (74.5) posted nearly identical scoring averages last season while Guy averaged a score of 75.5 as a redshirt junior last year.

Sophomore Ross Redmont (74.4 average in 2015-16) also will look to crack the starting lineup after earning All-OVC Newcomer status last season. Carpenter has also been impressed with the play of junior Zach Haynes (78.2 average while battling injuries last year) and sophomore Cameron Smith (75.0 average as a true freshman in 2015-16).

A pair of in-state newcomers will also join the fold for UT Martin this season. Jack Story will push for playing time as a true freshman after a standout career at Dickson County High School. Mason Chandler – from nearby Gibson County High School – also earned a spot as a walk-on and will redshirt in 2016-17.

“Our strength will be the leadership of our seniors and the quality play of Hunter,” Carpenter said. “All of our players will get playing time during our fall tournaments. Our guys have all worked hard over the summer and we are excited to get back in the swing of things.”

The Murray State Invitational is the first of 11 regular season tournaments on the Skyhawks’ 2016-17 schedule, six of which will take place in the fall. Last year, UT Martin posted a top-three finish in seven tournaments, including a pair of victories. This year’s OVC Championships are scheduled to take place on April 23-26 at the Fighting Joe Golf Course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Muscle Shoals, Ala.

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