VIDEO: Tom Forster Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After the team's sixth-consecutive top-five finish with a second-place showing at the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate, the No. 18 Eagles, ranked 19th in the nation according to the latest Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll, prepare to close out the 2017-18 regular season at the Tennessee River Rumble on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon, Tenn.
Carson-Newman's second-place finish at the Division-I event hosted by Tennessee Tech was highlighted by an outstanding performance by Tom Forster (Oundle, England) who won his first career tournament. The sophomore carded stellar round scores of 71, 65 and 67. His 65 in the second-round marked his personal low round score of the season as well as the lowest of anyone on the team.
"I was just being aggressive," Forster said of his performance. "Them last two rounds, I was going after every pin and the pucks were dropping unlike the first round.
"Everything just went my way and the bounces were good and everything that didn't work in the first round worked in the second two."
Forster held a 203 total through the event, the second-lowest 54-hole total in the history of the South Atlantic Conference. His mark missed the record held by Andrew Hall by a mere one shot.
"For a while, I was sort of questioning myself, whether I could put three rounds together enough to win a tournament," Forster mentioned. "So after putting three together and winning one, it has definitely given me the confidence that any round, it doesn't matter what I'm playing, I've got the confidence to shoot a good round."
The team's 851 total in the event also marked its lowest of the season.
C-N puts the success of the BNI behind it as the team now turns its attention to its fourth-straight appearance in the Tennessee River Rumble, an event the team placed second at last season after winning in in 2016. The Eagles have placed in the top-five in each of its last three appearances.
Forster leads the charge once again for the Eagles along with Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.) who also made the trip last year. He finished in a tie for eighth with an even 72.
"We are excited about playing another big tournament on a course we think is terrific," head coach Randy Wylie said. "Tennessee National is clearly one of the courses our East Tennessee kids love the most."
With Tennessee National being a premier course in the Knoxville area, the event will feel like a home match for a number of those East Tennesseans on the team, including Headrick, Will Hurt (Powell, Tenn.) and Alex Hutson (Newport, Tenn.) along with individuals Grant Bodie (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Tyler Parker (Knoxville, Tenn.).
Hurt makes his second-straight appearance on the top team for C-N following a +22 showing at the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate for a tie at 74th.
Hutson looks to capture his third-straight top-20 finish this week. He holds a 74.4 average through six events this season.
Freshman Jackson Tyler (Wilmington, N.C.) rounds out the team members for C-N in the field after playing as an individual at the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate.
Bodie makes his first return to the field since the Panther Invitational at the beginning of March where he carded a 20-over three-round score of 236 also as an individual. This is the fifth event of the season for the junior.
Freshman Parker has yet to participate in an event this spring. In the fall, he competed in three events for an eight-round average score of 76.3.
Last season, the Eagles finished at second in the field with a 292 total behind Lincoln Memorial. The 36-hole event was shaved to a single round due to inclement on the first day of competition. Two shots behind Carson-Newman on the leaderboard was Mars Hill with a 294 total.
Forster led the team with a one-under round of 71, tying at fifth in the event. Tusculum's David Whinery was the top individual in the field with a 67 followed by LMU's Sam Broadhurst just one stroke behind him. Matt Strube of Lee took third with a 69.
This year's field is comprised of 16 teams from 13 different schools including SAC foes host team No. 16 LMU, Catawba, Wingate, Mars Hill, Tusculum and Lenoir-Rhyne. No. 20 Young Harris will also take part in the event.
The two-day tournament will take place at the Tennessee National Golf Club which houses a 7,136 course and par of 72. Each day will see the teams face 18 holes of competition.