MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin golf team will be hoping for a little déjà vu when it opens its 2014 spring slate at the Frito Lay/Taco Bell Intercollegiate, hosted by Jackson State University at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club in Choctaw, Miss. on Feb. 15-17.
The Skyhawks set the tone for a successful 2013 spring with a victory at this same tournament last season. UT Martin shot an even-par 576, capturing the tournament title by a whopping 32 strokes. Ben Reeves earned medalist honors with a final score of 141 (-3) to pace four Skyhawks who earned top-10 finishes.
This year’s Skyhawks have gotten off to an impressive start through the fall season. UT Martin leads all Ohio Valley Conference schools with a 287.7 scoring average through 15 rounds in five tournaments.
Individually, UT Martin boasts six of the OVC’s top 20 golfers in scoring average. Tyler Guy (71.2 average) ranks second in the league, followed by Brendon Caballero (72.5) at seventh. Clay Harbin (73.0, 12th), Tyler Shellnut (73.1, 13th), Austin Swafford (73.3, 16th) and Reeves (73.6, 20th).
All six of the aforementioned Skyhawks will be competing this weekend.
“Every one of those six players are capable of playing at No. 1,” UT Martin head coach Jerry Carpenter said. “Our team’s attitude has been outstanding. We are all extremely excited about this spring – we feel like we can compete in every tournament.”
One thing that UT Martin will have to get accustomed to this weekend is the weather conditions. The forecast for Choctaw calls for a high of 66 degrees with just a 10-20 percent chance of rain.
“We have only played 18 holes outside since the fall because of the extreme cold weather,” Carpenter said. “However, we have only missed two days’ worth of hitting balls because our practice facility has given us the chance to practice. Our indoor putting green has been great for our players. Because of that building, we are as well prepared as we can be considering the elements.”