The Tennessee Tech men’s golf team was back on the links last week at the Kenny Perry Invitational in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The squad came away with a third place finish, and freshman Matthew Giles finished the tournament tied for second place, earning him his second OVC Male Golfer of the Week title.
The first round of the 54-hole tournament began Oct. 12. Giles led the team with a round of 71. Senior Mitch Thomas followed behind with a 73. The second round concluded with Tech tied for second place after recording rounds of 296 and 291, respectively. Giles carded a 70 in the second round and finished the day tied for second place at 3-under-par.
In the final round Tuesday, Thomas led the way for the Golden Eagles with a round of 74 and finished the tournament tied for ninth place. Giles shot a 76 in the final round, ending the tournament 1-over-par and one stroke behind the winner. The team finished out the final round with a 311. The team finished the Invitational in third place with an 898. The Golden Eagles finished ahead of the four other OVC teams playing in the tournament.
Giles’ consistent play in the tournament was good enough to earn him OVC Male Golfer of the Week for the second time in his short career. Coach Polk Brown was proud of the freshman standout.
“Matthew is a gamer,” Brown said. “He steps up in big situations. Very, very proud of him. He's an excellent addition to this team.”
Brown was pleased with the way his team played last week but wants to see a stronger finish.
“I think as a whole the team did very well,” Brown said. “The course played exceptionally difficult, and we did a lot of positive things out there including the overall team finish. However, at the end of both days, we struggled coming down the final stretch. We have to continue to work on finishing those last few holes strong.”
The team had close to a two-week break between tournaments, and Giles thinks that played a part in the team’s success this week.
“I think the breaks between tournaments really do help us,” Giles said. “If one of us didn't play great at the last tournament, we have a little time to figure things out and be ready for the next one.”
Things are heading in the right direction, according to Giles.
“This tournament showed us that we have what it takes to win, we just need to close it out during the last few holes,” Giles said. “We have some momentum now, so hopefully we can come out next week put a good tournament together.”
The team also competed this week in the Pinetree Intercollegiate event at Kennesaw State University Oct. 19-20. The Golden Eagles placed sixth after the first round and part of their second round of the tournament Monday , but following the rest of the second round and third round Tuesday Tech slipped to 11th place overall where they would finish. Thomas was the best performer for Tech in the event. Thomas finished tied for 31st in the event with a score of 228.
The team will be in Gulf Shores, Ala. for the A-State Fall Beach Classic Oct. 25-27. The event will be hosted by Arkansas State University and will be the last event of the fall season for the team.