Roller Coaster Day for Vols at Blackthorn
Merzbacher shoots 70 (-2), is T-9th

Oct. 11, 2013

Bank of Tennessee First Round Get Acrobat Reader

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. -- The Tennessee men's golf team had a first round that mimicked Katy Perry's single "Hot N Cold". The Vols teed off at the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate about as well as head coach Jim Kelson could have hoped. However as the day grinded on, the team slid into a tie for seventh with a first day total of 290 (+2).

The Vols were atop the leaderboard as they rounded the turn. Through nine holes, the Big Orange had a collective score of 5-under par, highlighted by freshman Jack Smith's 4-under par.

However, Tennessee's reign would be short-lived. On the ninth holes, Juan Carlos Serrano's hot streak was halted by a double bogey. On the tenth hole, Smith hit a double bogey as well, followed by a bogey for seniors Marshall Talkington and Brandon Rodgers. The Vols finished the first round at 2-over par.

On the day, the Vols had 19 birdies, eight bogeys, four double bogeys, one triple bogey and one quadruple bogey.

The two Tennessee sophomores proved to have the best command of the Blackthorn course. Oliver Goss and Chad Merzbacher both finished tied for ninth place with a first round score of 70 (-2).

Merzbacher was the definition of a solid golfer on Friday. The Dublin, Ohio native nailed three consecutive birdies on holes two, three and four. Those birdies would propel him through the back nine where he bogeyed No. 15 and finished at 2-under par.

"I played solid today. It wasn't my best performance but it was solid and consistent," Merzbacher said. "I went low early and then coasted in. I definitely have stuff to work on but I feel pretty confident about my game."

Merzbacher is competing for Tennessee as an individual. By playing as an individual, Merzbacher's score cannot count toward the Vols' team total. He is only eligible for the individual championship.

Goss also finished the day under par. The Australian native birdied five holes but ran into trouble when he had a double bogey on No. 8 and a bogey on No. 16.

Coach Kelson saw great improvements from some other Vols as well. Serrano was at 3-under par on the eighth hole but had a double bogey on No. 9. He climbed back to 2-under par before a critical quadruple bogey on No. 17 pushed him to 2-over par for the day.

Talkington made the most of his opportunity, ending the day at 73 (+1) and tied for 29th. The native of Jackson, Tenn., finished with two birdies and three bogeys. The strong first round is a tremendous aid to the senior's campaign to becoming a mainstay in the Volunteer's lineup.

Tournament host ETSU currently sits atop the leaderboard after a dominant first round of 277 (-11). The Bucs are led by Rhys Pugh after his day of 66 (-6) that included an eagle and four birdies.

On Saturday, Tennessee will start their second round at 10:20 a.m. ET from the 1st tee. Tennessee will be paired with Wake Forest and Furman.

For a full leaderboard rundown, Click Here.

Volunteer fans can continue to keep up with the team by following @Vol_Golf on Twitter.

*Played as Individual

TEAM SCORES (Through One Round)
1. ETSU 277 (-11)
2. Virginia Tech 284 (-4)
T-3. Kent State 285 (-3)
T-3. Coastal Carolina 285 (-3)
T-5. Memphis 288 (E)
T-5. UNCW 288 (E)
T-7. Tennessee 290 (+2)
T-7. Wake Forest 290 (+2)
9. Furman 292 (+4)
T-10. Missouri 295 (+7)
T-10. Virginia 295 (+7)
12. Army 296 (+8)
13. Penn State 305 (+17)
14. Villanova 327 (+39)
1. Rhys Pugh, ETST 66 (-6)
T-2. Thomas Birdsey, Wake Forest 67 (-5)
T-2. Bryce Howell, Furman 67 (-5)
T-2. Scott Vincent, Virginia Tech 67 (-5)
UT SCORES (Through One Round)
*T-9. Chad Merzbacher 70 (-2)
T-9. Oliver Goss 70 (-2)
T-29. Jack Smith 73 (+1)
T-29. Marshall Talkington 73 (+1)
T-41. Brandon Rodgers 74 (+2)
T-41. Juan Carlos Serrano 74 (+2)





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