MURRAY, Ky. – The Tennessee State men’s golf team stayed consistent through the first two rounds of the Murray State Invitational to move into fifth place. The Tigers carded a team 18-over, 302 in both sessions and moved up two spots in the afternoon round from the morning.
TSU will head into Tuesday’s round 18 strokes behind Alabama State at the Par-71, 6,601 yard Miller Memorial Golf Course. The host team, Murray State, is in first with a 4-over, 572, and sit six strokes ahead of Tennessee Tech.
Individually, Jermey Fultz led the way for the Tigers with a 5-over, 167, and is tied for 14th out of 61 golfers. The sophomore completed the first 18 holes of the day without registering an under par score, but would take advantage of five birdies in the afternoon.
Fultz (76-71=147) was tied for 36th heading into the second round and used two sets of back-to-back birdies to begin his climb up the leader board. The shot of the day for Fultz came during the second round on the par-4, 13th, as he found himself behind a group of trees off the tee box. The Knoxville native hit a punch shot out of the trees from 198 out that carried and landed on the green 10 feet from the cup, which he sank for his second birdie of the day.
The shot on No. 13 came one hole after he reached the green in two and used two putts for his first birdie of the day.
Fultz continued his run with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3, 3rd, and a shot from 110 yards out to three feet for a makeable putt on the par-4, 4th. The second-year Tiger closed out the day by hitting his second shot on the par-4, 6th, from 60 yards to four feet.
Drew Owens trails Fultz by just three strokes after the first day of the first tournament of his collegiate career. Owens (74-76=150) is tied for 26th, after firing an 8-over, 150, and is just four strokes out of the top 10.
The freshman used two birdies in the first round and three during the second to propel his score. Owens found success in both rounds on the par-4, 11th. In the morning session, Owens hit his driver to 20-yards short of the green and chipped to five feet for his first one-under of the day. In the afternoon, his tee shot landed 30-yards short, but again he would chip to a makeable distance.
Owens overshot the par-5, 17th, with a 4-iron on his second, but was able to get up-and-down for birdie. On the final hole of the day, the first-year hit his driver over the trees on the par-4, 7th, to 20 yards short of the green. His chip would stop five feet from the flag, setting up another birdie.
The Tigers lone senior, Blake Burgett, opened the day with strong ball striking, but ran into trouble on the greens. The Nashville product was still able to help TSU by scoring in both rounds.
Burgett (79-77=156) found success, like Owens, at No. 11 during both sessions. During both rounds, Burgett hit his driver just short of the green and got up-and-down for birdie.
In the morning, Burgett, was able to reach the green in two on the No. 17 and two putted his way to the stroke-cutting mark. The third-year Tiger cut a pair of strokes off his morning round as he was 10-of-14 on fairways and found eight greens later in the day.
Todd McGill shot a 2-over, 73, to open the day and was tied for 12th. The junior hit a wedge to six feet on the par-4, 15th, and two putted on No. 17 for his two birdies of the day. McGill (73-85=158) would struggle in the afternoon as he was not able to score for TSU.
Freshman Rosario Falzone stepped up for the Tigers to record a counting score during the second round. Falzone (82-78=160) chopped four strokes off his morning total as he hit eight fairways and 14-of-18 greens.
The Nashville product capped his later round with a birdie on No. 12. After laying up on the par-5, Falzone hit his wedge to four feet for the makeable putt. His first birdie of the day came on No. 4 as he hit a wedge from a hardpan lie to set up a 15-footer to cut into his score.
Playing as an individual, Sam Gatlin opened the tournament with a 4-over, 75. Gatlin (75-79=154) was not able to find the same success in the second round, but managed to fire an 8-over, 79.
Gatlin started fast as he shot a 2-under on the front nine in the morning. He used seven pars and back-to-back birdies on six and seven to begin the day. On No. 6, the freshman cut the corner and had 43 yards-in before hitting his approach shot to four feet of the hole. Gatlin followed with a drive down the middle of the fairway off the tee box with 25-yards to the flag. He then chipped his second shot to six feet from the pin.
The final 18-hole round will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
T14. Jermey Fultz 76-71=147
T26. Drew Owens 74-76=150
T46. Blake Burgett 79-77=156
T52. Todd McGill 73-85=158
55. Rosario Falzone 82-78=160
T41 Sam Gatlin 75-79=154