Sept. 20, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee men's golf team shot its best two rounds of the season to close out the first day of the Dick's Challenge Cup in fifth place. The Vols played two rounds in one day yet still managed to shoot season highs of 288 and 282 to finish their 36-hole day at two-over par.
The tournament, held at The Golf Club of Tennessee, is a 54 hole-stroke play with the individual and team champion being crowned on Saturday. The final day of play on Sunday will feature the SEC/ACC Challenge. In the challenge, teams will be ranked based on their finish in the 54-hole stroke play. The winner on Sunday will receive bragging rights as the top conference.
On Friday, head coach Jim Kelson saw a true team effort on the golf course.
Right off the first tee box, senior Brandon Rodgers started hot. The Farragut, Tenn., was 3-under par through nine holes which included an eagle and three birdies. Rodgers cooled off on the back-nine posting a four-over par.
During the second round, Rodgers continued his great streak of play. He finished with a 69 (-2) that included six birdies. Adding to his impressive first day performance, Rodgers showed no sign of rust as the Dick's Challenge was his first start of the season.
Oliver Goss and Jack Smith also wanted to jump in on the action. Smith, a Knoxville native, carded a first day total of 70-71--141 (-1). Smith played near perfect golf considering his age. The Dick's Challenge is only the freshman's second collegiate start. Heading into Saturday, Smith is tied with Rodgers for 11th place.
Goss found his old groove in Nashville. The Australian native bounced back from what he considered a disappointing performance earlier in the month at the Carpet Capital Collegiate. The sophomore focused on using the strengths of his game to climb the leaderboard.
"I played well this morning," Goss said. "I had six birdies and three bogeys. I birded all the par fives which was great for my game. I took advantage of my length this afternoon and I'm looking to do the same tomorrow. I just need to eliminate the bogeys and hopefully our team can do the same."
Through two rounds, Goss accumulated ten birdies and finished with a first day total of 68-70--138 (-4). Goss currently sits in a tie for fifth place, just two strokes from second place.
"This afternoon I just didn't make the birdies I should've made and had a couple of simple mistakes out there," Goss said. "70 is still a good score but it could've been a lot better. Tomorrow I'll try and play a bit smarter to eliminate the easy mistakes and hopefully come out with my second collegiate victory with Tennessee."
On Saturday, Tennessee will start their final round of stroke play at 8:55 a.m. ET from the 10th hole tee box. Tennessee will be paired with ACC foes Clemson and Virginia.
Volunteer fans can continue to keep up with the team by following @Vol_Golf on Twitter.
|TEAM SCORES (Through Two Rounds)|
|1.||Texas A&M||286-271--557 (-11)|
|7.||Mississippi State||288-291--579 (+11)|
|9.||Wake Forest||301-287--588 (+20)|
|10.||Boston College||314-297--611 (+43)|
|INDIVIDUAL LEADERS (ThroughTwo Rounds)|
|1.||Ben Crancer, Texas A&M||68-63--131 (-11)|
|T-2.||Denny McCarthy||68-68-136 (-6)|
|T-2.||Hunter Stewart, Vanderbilt||65-71--136 (-6)|
|UT SCORES (Through Two Rounds)|
|T-5.||Oliver Goss||68-70--138 (-4)|
|T-11.||Jack Smith||70-71--141 (-1)|
|T-11.||Brandon Rodgers||72-69--141 (-1)|
|T-40.||Danny Keddie||79-72--151 (+9)|
|T-42.||Juan Carlos Serrano||78-76--154 (+12)|