Tigers Look to Rebound From Slow Start at OVC Championships
MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – Day one was a struggle for the Tennessee State men’s golf team at the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference golf championships. The Tigers fought wind gusts up to 15 MPH on the Par-72, 7,187 yard Fighting Joe course at The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
TSU is in 11th place as they shot a 33-over, 321, on the first day of competition. Jacksonville State holds the lead with an 8-under, 280.
In the race for individual honors, Camilo Aguado (Jacksonville State), Marco Iten (Austin Peay) and Ted Moon (Belmont) are tied as they entered the clubhouse on Monday with a 4-under, 68. The trio is a part of nine golfers who shot under par.
Andrew Warner is currently tied for 26th in the field of 55 after shooting a 4-over, 76. Warner carded 11 pars on the day, including eight of the first 12 holes. Along with two birdies, the senior was even-par after 12.
Warner hit nine fairways and found 12 greens in regulation as he used 31 putts on Monday. Warner drained an 18-foot putt on the par-4, 10th, after reaching the green with a 9-iron from 145-yards. The second birdie of the day for the Hendersonville, Tenn. native came on the par-5, 12th. Warner stuck his third shot, a wedge from 135 out, two feet from the pin to set up an easy putt.
Codie Welborn dropped four birdies during the first round, the most by any Tiger. Welborn opened the day with his first 1-under on the opening hole. The senior laid up on his second shot, setting up a sand wedge from 105-yards to six feet from the flag, for the makeable putt. Welborn found himself at 4-over through seven, but was able to get down to 2-over after 11 with a pair of birdies and two pars.
Welborn hit a driver off the box on the par-4, 8th, finding the middle of the fairway. The Murfreesboro product knocked his second shot 122 yards to 15-feet, and a one putt. On the par-4, 11th, Welborn was able to drop his closest putt of the day, five feet, to sit at 2-over with seven to play. Two holes later, Welborn found himself on the front edge of the green on the par-3, 13th, as his 6-iron off the box came up short. Welborn proceeded to sink an uphill and to the left putt for his final birdie of the round. The four-year member of the Tigers closed out play with an 81 on Monday.
James Stepp matched Welborn’s 81 as he carded three birdies and five pars. On the par-4, 3rd, Stepp used a gap wedge on his second shot to within six feet to help him to move to 1-over after bogeys on the first two holes. After a bogey on No. 6, the junior was able to drop a putt from 20 feet away to move back to 1-over on the par-5, 7th. Stepp was once again at 2-over aftre the conclusion of the front nine. The Cheatham, Tenn. native, once again, would get the stroke back with a birdie on No. 10, as his second shot, a pitching wedge, stopped six feet from the flag to set up the one-putt.
Blake Burgett scored 11 pars as he hit 10-of-14 fairways and found eight greens. On the front nine, the sophomore finished 8-over, on account of four double bogeys. Burgett would settle in on the back nine shooting a 3-over to finish the round with an 83. The shot of the day for the Nashville product came on the par-5, 17th. Burgett found the right-side fairway bunker off the box, setting up a layup shot to 160-yards out. Burgett, once again, would find a bunker on his third shot on the front side of the green. The first-year Tiger hit his uphill bunker shot to four feet of the pin to set up a putt to save par.
Matt Campbell carded a non-scoring 86 on day one with nine pars on his scorecard. The junior continued to hit the ball well as he hit 11-of-14 fairways and found 12 greens in regulation.
The second round will begin for the Tigers at 8:00am on Tuesday as Campbell takes to the course. Burgett will tee off at 8:10am and will be followed by Stepp at 8:20am, Welborn at 8:30am and Warner at 8:40am. Hole-by-hole live results from each day of the championship can be accessed through links at OVCSports.com.