VIDEO: Randy Wylie Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With the first team win of the season under its belt, No. 8 Carson-Newman prepares to close out its fall slate with a trip to the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. for the Shark Invitational.
The win at the Aflac/Cougar Invitational on Sept. 25 helped the Eagles make a substantial jump up the Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll that was released last Friday, moving up eight spots to eighth.
"Last week, our win in Columbus was one of the biggest victories in the history of the program and the teams that we beat," coach Randy Wylie said. "(The rank) is reflective, it's some respect from the coaches that vote in the poll saying, 'Hey, if you can beat those teams, you're a legitimate contender,' so we're pleased by that, but, ultimately, you know, you just got to keep grinding.
"That's all nice for everybody to see this rank there, but we've got a big test in front of us this week and if we don't bring it this week and play as well as we did last week, you know, we could get run over, so we've got to keep going."
C-N shot its best 54-hole score in Columbus, Ga. with a nine-under score of 843. This was the lowest three-round score by an Eagles team since the University of North Georgia Fall Invitational back in 2015 when the Eagles shot an 840, 24 shots under par.
The final round was huge for the Eagles at the Cougar Invitational with the top-four scores that counted toward the team score all landing in the 60s.
"I've been waiting for us to put it together for four rounds in the 60s and we could see it in practice," Wylie said. "We do it here on a regular basis, so I wasn't surprised and I felt like that was bound to come and it came on a really good week last week."
Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.) will lead the charge for Carson-Newman after tying for fourth at the Cougar Invitational. He shot two rounds of 69 and was five-under through the event, the lowest under par the senior had shot since his win at the McDonough Cup in October 2017, also at five-under.
Tom Forster (Oundle, England) will travel to the Sunshine State as the second-seed for the Eagles. His two-under performance at the Cougar Invitational was enough for a share of 12th-place. So far, his best finish of the 2018-19 campaign was second at the Coker Fall Challenge, opening the season with his lowest round score of the season at 67.
The junior currently leads the team with a 69.4 stroke average through five rounds.
Remaining at the No. 3 spot for a third-straight tournament is Jake Mynatt (Knoxville, Tenn.). The freshman has accumulated a 72.6 stroke average in his first two collegiate events with his lowest round score of 69 coming in the third round at the Cougar Invitational.
Jackson Tyler (Wilmington, N.C.) will be the four-seed after tying for 28th in Columbus. His 67 in the final round of the event was capped off by an eagle-birdie to give him his career-lowest round score.
At the No. 5 spot will be Anthony Marcinelli (Knoxville, Tenn.), appearing in the first event of his senior campaign. The Academic All-American a season ago racked up a 74.5 stroke average in 27 rounds of play. His best finish in the 2017-18 season came at the South Atlantic Conference Championship with a +6 score that landed him at 12th-place.
Going from one event that is chock-full of nationally ranked teams to another, No. 5 Nova Southeastern's tournament will bring a challenge to a C-N squad that has never appeared in the event. Of the 16 teams in the field, four other ranked schools join Carson-Newman and Nova Southeastern including No. 4 Saint Leo, No. 6 Florida Tech, No. 7 West Florida and No. 11 University of Indianapolis.
West Florida returns to the field after winning the event the past two seasons.
The event will take place at the historic PGA National Champion Course, spanning 6,906 yards with a par of 72.
"These guys all look at the PGA Tour with a lot of admiration and stuff so for them to play and step on those tees and have those same difficulties that are built into the golf course will be a great challenge for them," Wylie said.
"We're not going to change our approach because the golf course is a PGA Tour course. We always try to play smart, confident golf and we'll do the same this week."
The Shark Invitational will tee-off Monday with two rounds of play. Live scoring will be provided by the folks at Nova Southeastern throughout the event's duration with a full recap and results being available at cneagles.com at the end of each day.