Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Golden Eagles capture first OVC Tournament crown since 1990; top SIUE in match-play championship

Golden Eagles capture first OVC Tournament crown since 1990; top SIUE in match-play championship

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – It was history in the making, and perhaps a little redemption, for the Tennessee Tech men's golf team Wednesday evening, as the Golden Eagles claimed its first Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title since 1990 after finishing 2-0 in the match-play portion of the league championships at the Fighting Joe Course at The Shoals on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

After handily defeating in-state rival and No. 3 seeded UT Martin, 4-1-0, in the semifinals, the No. 2 Tech squad delivered an incredibly clutch performance in the final, edging out No. 4 SIUE in a back-and-forth, 3-2-0 victory. The title marks the fifth in program history, with the 2024 Golden Eagles joining the ranks of the 1951, 1954, 1955, and 1990 teams.

Following its impressive win over the Skyhawks, and a brief, one-hour break, the purple and gold went back to work in its mission for an OVC crown. Tech leaped out of the gates taking as large as a 4-0-1 lead after the first couple of holes. The Cougars bounced back and even took a lead of its own before final scores started to roll in.

Once they did, it was the Golden Eagles taking the early lead behind a stellar showing by Haden Maxwell. The runner-up in the stroke-play portion of the tournament boasted a lead immediately following the first hole and never looked back, taking down SIUE's Alex Eickhoff 4&2 for the first point of the night.

The Cougars evened the score fairly quickly after Luke Ludwig topped Sean Anderson in a 4&3 decision. Another close battle most of the way went in favor of SIUE after TJ Baker bested rookie Alex Broyles by a score of 3&2.

Now trailing on the official scoreboard, 2-1-0, the Golden Eagles turned to a pair of veterans to secure their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in over 30 years. Junior Jackson Skeen took off starting at the eighth hole, turning a one-hole lead into five over the next six holes. He officially tied the match at 2-2-0 not long after, cruising past Anthony Ruthey for a 5&4 triumph.

Delivering a comeback with one of the most clutch shots in program history was senior Mark McDearman, who saw career with the purple and gold come around full circle over the weekend. A member of the All-OVC Team as a rookie, the Tech men's golf legacy (his father; pictured left with Mark; was a member of the 1990 OVC Championship Golden Eagle squad) earned OVC All-Tournament honors on Tuesday after tying for fourth in stroke play.

The Lebanon, Tenn. native leaped into the phone booth and jumped back out with a cape after falling behind on the 15th hole. McDearman buried a shot 117 yards out on the 16th, squaring the match-up once more.

He rode that momentum into the final two holes, taking the lead after the 17th and clinching it all with one last win on the 18th. The win provided some redemption for the three most veteran members of the team as well, as McDearman, Skeen, and Anderson all competed in Tech's 3-2 loss in the match-play championship at the OVC Tournament in 2022.

The championship dream was all set up by a spectacular showing in the semifinals earlier in the day, a 4-1-0 run against UT Martin. Maxwell and Skeen produced the largest gaps at 5&4 and 4&3 to top their Skyhawk counterparts.

Broyles gathered a 3&2 victory, stepping up after an injury to sophomore Anders Larson in the second round of stroke play forced the rookie into an emergency starting role the final two days. For good measure, McDearman earned a 1UP decision to complete the win.

With the victory, Tech earned the OVC's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. The 2024 field will be announced on Wednesday, May 1 at 1:00 p.m. CT on the Golf Channel.

The NCAA Regionals will be held May 13-15 in Austin, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Stanford, Calif.; and West Lafayette, Ind. Following the Regionals the National Championship will be held May 24-29 at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif.

Match Play Results

Semifinal #1: No. 4 SIUE 3, No. 1 Little Rock 2
Alex Eickhoff (SIUE) def. Jansen Smith (LR), 1UP (1 extra hole)
Luke Ludwig (SIUE) def. Magnus Lomholt (LR), 1UP
Brady Kaufmann (SIUE) def. Matteo Cristoni (LR), 2&1
Rhett South (LR) def. TJ Baker (SIUE), 3&2
Archie Smith (LR) def. Anthony Ruthey (SIUE), 5&4

Semifinal #2: No. 2 Tennessee Tech 4, No. 3 UT Martin 1
Jackson Skeen (TTU) def. Jacob Uehlein (UTM), 4&3
Alex Broyles (TTU) def. Grant Phillips (UTM), 3&2
Luke Caldwell (UTM) def. Sean Anderson (TTU), 3UP
Mark McDearman (TTU) def. Jonathan Xoinis (UTM), 1UP
Haden Maxwell (TTU) def. Dax Isbell (UTM), 5&4

Final: No. 2 Tennessee Tech 3, No. 4 SIUE 2
Haden Maxwell (TTU) def. Alex Eickhoff (SIUE), 4&2
Luke Ludwig (SIUE) def. Sean Anderson (TTU), 4&3
TJ Baker (SIUE) def. Alex Broyles (TTU), 3&2
Mark McDearman (TTU) def. Brady Kaufmann (SIUE), 2UP
Jackson Skeen (TTU) def. Anthony Ruthey (SIUE), 5&4

Photos by Michael Wade

© Tennessee Tech Athletics

1100 McGee Blvd. // TTU Box 5057 // Cookeville, TN 38505

Privacy Policy