COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Four members of the Tennessee Tech men's golf team have been recognized as Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholars for 2014-15 by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA).
Mason Griffin, Bryce Kendrick, Mitch Thomas and Lee Whitehead were among the collegiate golfers recognized with the prestigious honor. The criteria for selection to the All-American Scholar Team are some of the most stringent in all of college athletics.
To be eligible for Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar status an individual must be a junior or senior academically, compete in at least three full years at the collegiate level, participate in 50-percent of his team's competitive rounds, have a stroke-average under 76.0 in Division I, 78.0 in Division II, 77.0 in NAIA and 79.0 in Division III, and maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.2. A recipient must also be of high moral character and be in good standing at his college or university.
"I'm really proud of Bryce, Mitch, Lee and Mason," said Golden Eagle coach Polk Brown. "They worked really hard this past year and it showed in the classroom as well as the golf course. Mason graduated this last semester and has entered the workforce and I know he was prepared because of how hard he worked in the classroom. Lee, Mitch and Bryce have all put in exceptional work as well and will continue to do so as they approach their own graduations here in the next few semesters. I'm just very happy for them and they are all quite deserving."
The four Golden Eagle golfers were among a group of 10 from the Ohio Valley Conference included in the 206 players chosen from throughout NCAA Division I schools.
A senior, who was named the Golden Eagle Long Hitter and team captain, Griffin left Tech with the lowest scoring average of his career, posting a mark of 74.68 behind two top-10 finishes and an OVC Male Golfer of the Week award. He earned his master's in business adminstration while sporting a 3.80 GPA.
Lee Whitehead took home the Gilbert Darcy Most Valuable Player award following a brilliant senior campaign, leading the way for the year in terms of individual scoring average (thusly picking up the team's Low Average award as well), while posting the lowest number of his career in the purple and gold. The wiley veteran wrapped up an impressive three-year campaign as a Golden Eagle with a mark of 72.63 in his final season, representing the lowest single-season stroke average since Scott Stallings' 70.9 following his senior campaign. He rounded out the year with a 3.55 GPA in communications.
Both junior accounting majors, Kendrick (3.29 GPA) and Thomas (3.44 GPA) both helped the Golden Eagles capture its first tournament championship since 2007 at the Big Blue Intercollegiate. It marked the second of back-to-back top 15 finishes for Kendrick, who wrapped up the year with a 74.65 scoring average.
Thomas' final 54-hole score at the event, relative to par, of 13-under finished behind just one other in all-time Tech history, falling three strokes behind Stallings' near-impossible -16, set in the fall of 2005. The junior's 203, which came courtesy of rounds of 66, 73 and 64, matched the second-best 54-hole mark completed by Barrett Steakley in 2007. The Knoxville native's final 18 holes helped him tie the program mark for single round relative to par, matching the eight-under, 64 recorded by Randy Darcy in 1972 and the eight-under, 63 run off by current PGA Tour pro Scott Stallings.