JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – One event after competing with some of the best teams that Division II has to offer, the Carson-Newman men's golf team will again have its mettle tested as they make the short journey to the Sevierville Golf Club in Sevierville, Tenn. for the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate, which will be held from March 19th – 21st.
The Eagles, who received 21 votes in the most recent GCAA Coaches poll will be competing in a field with seven Division I schools, including the host college, Tennessee Tech. The Eagles will also have to deal with the No. 18 team in Division II, Lincoln Memorial.
"This is a tough field," said coach Randy Wylie, "but we expect to be competitive. We've got an interesting first round pairing with our rival, LMU."
The top four players for coach Wylie heading into this tournament will be Dalton Reese (Warrenton, Ga.), Tom Forster (Oundle, England), Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.) and Anthony Marcinelli (Knoxville, Tenn.). Reese, Forster and Headrick have participated in all six events this season and Marcinelli has been on the course for C-N's last two tourneys.
Forster was one of Mossy Creek's top performers in the last competition, the Panther Invitational in Melbourne, Fla., where the team placed 6th. The freshman tied for 12th with an eight-over 224, his third best finish of the season. Forster has been an immediate contributor to the squad in his first campaign in the Blue and Orange. He owns four of Carson-Newman's top eight rounds and a team-high four rounds under par. He's also scored an eagle in each of the last two tournaments.
Reese has remained consistent throughout the 2016-17 schedule, as demonstrated by his 73.4 stroke average, C-N's second-best. Reese is attempting rebound from a 40th place finish in Melbourne. He has three of the Eagles' 10 best 18 hole scores this season, including a two-under 70 that he carded in the State Farm Intercollegiate in October.
Coming off his second-best tournament of the season is Headrick, who tied with Forster for 12th at the Panther Invitational, his second highest finish of the year. His four-under 68 at the State Farm Intercollegiate still stands as the best round of golf played by Carson-Newman this year. The sophomore will be attempting to improve on a 73.6 stroke average.
After not playing in any of the Eagles' events in the fall, Marcinelli has contributed to the squad in the spring. While he missed a round of play at the Spring Kickoff Intercollegiate, Marcinelli shot three-over for the tourney and he followed that up with a score of six-over in the Panther Invitational and posted a one-under 71 in his final round.
The fifth spot in Wylie's lineup will be occupied by either sophomore Will Hurt (Powell, Tenn.) or freshman Brady Childers (Granite Falls, N.C.). Hurt last played in October, when he finished 20th in the Walters State Fall Classic. For Childers, he would be playing in his third consecutive tournament. Most recently, he tied for 61st in Melbourne, shooting 23-over.
This is the third consecutive year this event has been featured on C-N's slate. In 2016, they tied for fifth with Tennessee Tech and Wright State, shooting a 33-over 897. The Eagles were led by Andrew Hall, who tied for fourth. Headrick tied for 34th while Reese finished in a deadlock for 48th after placing 37th in this competition in 2015.
All three days in Sevierville will involve one round of golf for each student-athlete on the Sevierville Golf Club's river course. This par 72 course spans nearly 7,000 yards and forces each golfer to avoid the nearby Little Pigeon River, which lies alongside or crosses nearly every hole.
At the end of each day of competition in Sevierville, a recap and results will be available on cneagles.com.