Golden Eagle golfers competing in OVC Championships

The Golden Eagle golfers are teeing it up for perhaps the final time in their Tech careers at the OVC Championships.The women are at Crooked Creek Golf Course in London, Ky., where they are in the hunt after the first day of action.

Thursday’s team score of 318 placed Tech squarely in third place, just six shots off of the lead, held by Murray State.

Austin Peay is four shots back, and seven teams are within 12 shots of the lead after the first round.

Led by Madison Denman’s 77, the Golden Eagles have four players in the top 20 after the opening round of play.

Megan Bradford, who owns Tech’s best average this season, is one of seven players tied for 11th at 79.

Carley Rhyne and Ashley Spangler are among five players tied for 19th at 81.

Eastern Illinois’ Carrie Riordan is the individual leader with a 74, while Laura Cutler from Jacksonville State and Joyce Trus of Murray State are two shots back.

Denman is next, tied with Staci Lynch and Catie Tucker, both from Austin Peay.

Bradford led Tech with three birdies on Thursday, while Denman had two birdies, both coming on par-five holes.

Denman and Rhyne each picked up 10 pars in their respective turns around the course.

Denman, Spangler, Maegan Sullivan, and Carla Hazelwood are wrapping up their careers for first-year coach Brandy Stout.

All four were recruited by Hall of Fame Coach Bobby Nichols, who passed away in March 2008 after a long bout with cancer.

The women’s team is looking to reclaim the success they had in winning the APSU Intercollegiate tournament earlier this season.

The women have also finished in second place, twice in third place and once in fourth this season.

Spangler finished 12th last year to lead Tech at the 2008 OVC Championship, firing a hole-in-one on the final hole of the final day.

This season she has the second-best average on the Tech squad at 79.2 and one all-tournament selection.

The team leader this spring has been Bradford, a junior from Jackson, Tenn., with a 77.1 average and three all-tournament honors.

The men’s team will compete Monday through Wednesday at The Shoals, a course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

It’s the final week of play for Greyson Painter, who will play in the event, along with Calvin Clark and Dylan Richards, who will continue their development in practice rounds.

The Tech men’s team will look to maintain its recent momentum after a third-place finish in the Big Blue Invitational earlier this month in Nashville.

The men’s team also has another third place finish, as well as a fourth and sixth place showing this season.