By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
MADISON, Ill. – Another strong day of play at Gateway National Golf Links in Madison, Ill. cemented an impressive, second-place showing at the SIUE Derek Dolenc Invitational for the Tennessee Tech men's golf team Tuesday afternoon.
After securing the No. 2 spot on the leaderboard through two rounds on Monday, the Golden Eagles put forth a valiant effort in chasing down the leader, Ohio Valley Conference and in-state foe UT Martin. The Skyhawks boasted a 13-stroke advantage headed into the final 18 holes behind brilliant scores of 281 and 282.
Tech entered the final day with rounds of 289 and 287 already in the books, sitting one shot ahead of another in-state and league rival, Belmont, for second place. The purple and gold pounced on its opportunity to try and catch UT Martin, turning in the best round of the day by five shots, a 2-under 282.
Coupled with a 289 put together by the Skyhawks, the Golden Eagles made that final 18 holes highly intriguing, eventually settling for a runner-up showing behind a three-round total of 858, just six shots off the pace. The surge gave Tech an easy second-place finish, beating the third-place Bruins by 10 strokes.
Junior Will Brooks continued his impressive tournament by placing fourth and securing an All-Tournament nod after shooting an even-par 71 in the final round. Grouped with his 68 and 72 from day one, the Cookeville native tied his career-low for 54 holes with a 2-under 211. Brooks led the field of 99 golfers in par-5 scoring, finishing 4-under for the tournament. He also fired the only eagle of the event, notching the feat on the 18th hole during Tuesday's action.
Fellow junior Bracton Womack was the leader in the clubhouse for the Golden Eagles on Tuesday, carding a spectacular 3-under 68 to leap into a tie for fifth place. The native of McMinnville finished just one shot back of his teammate and his own career-low total for 54 holes, sporting a 1-under 212. Womack ranked second in the field in par-4 scoring to complete the week, posting a mark of 4-under.
Next along the Tech lineup, sophomore Bryce Beeler tied for 32nd overall after posting a 72-72-76=220 while senior Cameron Yeary rounded out action with a 74 in his final round. The wiley veteran tied for 36th, just two shots behind Beeler, after leaving the course with a 222.
Making his final round of action count, sophomore Chance Taylor erupted to tie his career-low round of 69 on Tuesday to help the cause. He finished tied for 41st with a 223 after producing scores of 76 and 78 on the first day of play.
True freshman Nick Sutton turned in another impressive round while competing as an individual, carding a 1-under 70 to finish in a tie for 21st overall with a season-low 217.
Drake's Tim Lim took home medalist honors in the event after winning a three-way, playoff hole against Evan Davis of Belmont and Jake Vincent of Southern Utah. The three finished with scores of 209.
Tech's second-place showing at SIUE's Derek Dolenc Invitational marked the best finish for the team at the event in its four trips over the past five seasons. It also represented the third runner-up or better finish in the team's past seven events dating back to last year. Tech also claimed two tournament titles in that span, not to mention a total of five top-five rankings.
The Golden Eagles will look to keep momentum swinging in their favor in two weeks when the team returns to the links for the Intercollegiate at The Grove. Tech will head to College Grove, Tenn. for Middle Tennessee's event, which runs from Sunday, Oct. 6 through Tuesday, Oct. 8.
|Top 5 Teams:|
|Leaderboard (99 Golfers)|
|T1.||Tim Lim (Drake)^||72-71-66=209||-4|
|T1.||Evan Davis (Belmont)||71-70-68=209||-4|
|T1.||Jake Vincent (Southern Utah)||72-65-72=209||-4|
|*competed as an individual | ^won in playoff|
Photo by Thomas Corhern