With the Carson-Newman men's golf team preparing for its final event of the regular season, coach Randy Wylie stopped by to preview the Tennessee River Rumble.
VIDEO: Randy Wylie Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – In their final tune-up prior to the South Atlantic Conference Championships, the Carson-Newman men's golf team will make the journey to the Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon, Tenn. for the Tennessee River Rumble, which is set for April 3rd – 4th.
The Eagles, who received 17 votes in the most recent Golf Coaches Association of America poll, go into their final regular season tournament off two of their best performances of the season. After a victory in the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate, during which the squad totaled the lowest round by a SAC team this season, C-N placed fourth in the Division II Regional Preview. In both events, Carson-Newman battled top notch competition. Their stroke average of 293.9 is also good enough for third in the league.
"We need to keep playing one shot at a time," said coach Randy Wylie. "We've been sidetracked a few times by the occasional double or triple-bogey that's hurt us and you have to eliminate those high numbers. They're scorecard wreckers. Our last time out, we should have finished third, but one too many big numbers put us in fourth."
Tom Forster (Oundle, England) and Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.) both used last week's event to collect another top 10 finish, the third of the season for each student-athlete. Forster has been under-par in each of the Eagles last two competitions and owns the best stroke average on the roster and fifth-best in the conference at 72.38. Just two of the freshman's last six 18-hole scores have been over par and he possesses four of the program's ten lowest rounds, as well as a team-high seven results in red numbers. Two of C-N's three lowest 54-hole marks also belong to Forster.
Not far behind his teammate with a stroke average of 72.75, the SAC's eighth-best, is Headrick, who followed up his win at the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate by earning a tie for 10th in Alabama, the fifth time in his career he's muscled his way into the top 10. His second round 70 was his sixth foray into red numbers and the sophomore can lay claim to three of the six best rounds by the Eagles this year.
One of two seniors for coach Wylie, Dalton Reese (Warrenton, Ga.) has been solid, if not spectacular since the fall. He's been in the top 20 in six of the eight tournaments during the current campaign and two of those finishes were in the top 10. In 24 times on the course, Reese has shot higher than a 75 just thrice and he's entered the clubhouse under-par six times, with a season-best of a four-under 68 at the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate. He's also the third Eagle with a stroke average that places him in the SAC's top 10, as he sits in ninth thanks to a mark of 72.9.
The fourth member of C-N's lineup will be Brady Childers (Granite Falls, N.C.), who has been a constant for the team during the spring, playing in each event. In the last three competitions, he's carded three rounds in the red, two of which came at The Panther Invitational in the beginning of March. His best performance came during his team's triumph at the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate, where he finished 23rd.
"[Forster, Headrick and Reese] are just good players," said Wylie. "They're playing the way I would expect them to and the way they expect themselves to. We've also seen some development and improvement from Brady Childers. He's really starting to come on and is helping our team."
Following a week off, Anthony Marcinelli (Knoxville, Tenn.) will be back at it in Loudon. In seven rounds of golf, he's crafted a stroke average of 77.67. The freshman had his best showing at the Spring Kickoff Intercollegiate in February, concluding 36 holes at three-over. The final player on the roster who will be teeing off at the Tennessee National Golf Club is Fintan McKenna, who is in the field as an individual.
Along with the Eagles, the field for this event will include nine SAC teams, with one of the omissions being the conference leader, Newberry. The team from Mossy Creek will still have to contend with the eighth ranked group in the country in the Lee Flames, as well as No. 18 Lincoln Memorial.
Each student-athlete in Loudon will be attempting to conquer a 7,136 yard course with a par of 72. These 18 holes were designed by former PGA Tour player and two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman. The layout includes five holes that play either to or from the water and also includes stacked sod bunkers, reminiscent of Scottish links courses.
This event will feature 18 holes of play each day, with a victor being crowned on Tuesday. Following both rounds, visit cneagles.com for a recap and results.