Blue Raiders dominant in record-breaking win
Cochran earns first career winMarch 25, 2008 · MT Media Relations
Middle Tennessee continued is outstanding spring season by dominating the field at the Carter Plantation Intercollegiate with a 26-shot victory - its record-setting third straight triumph and fourth overall during the 2007-08 season. The Blue Raiders improved to 50-5 in four spring tournaments on their way to becoming the first team in program history to win three consecutive team titles. The four tournament wins overall are the most in a school year. Second-place Marquette shot 43-over 907.
Junior golfer Rick Cochran made it a clean sweep when he captured low medalist honors with a 1-under 215 for the three-round event. Cochran, a native of Paducah, Ky., was the only player in the field to break par on the way to his first career win and eighth Top 10 finish. Always steady Chas Narramore also continued his exceptional play with a third-place finish. Narramore shot 4-over 220 for the tournament and notched his 12th career Top 10 finish as well as his fifth Top 5 showing. Cochran and Narramore were named to the five-person all-tournament team.
First-year Middle Tennessee Head Coach Whit Turnbow said his team has played on a mission all season and it is reflected in their performances on the field.
"I said earlier in the year they are playing with a chip on their shoulder because of how they were treated last year and left out of the NCAA Tournament by the Selection Committee," Turnbow said. "That can be a powerful thing. They are playing with a chip and an attitude but there is still a lot to prove. Our philosophy is to leave no doubt and so far I'm pleased with their approach."
In addition to Cochran and Narramore's fine play, standout Craig Smith - the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year - finished tied for 12th with a 226, followed by Kent Bulle (228) at 17th and Jason Millard (229) at 18th. Nick Bailes was playing as an individual and tied for 23rd with a 232.
Cochran said the key to his first career win was improved play with the wedges and his chipping. He was consistently in the fairways and driving greens on his way to a tournament high 13 birdies and one eagle. He was fourth among the players in par-5 scoring at 6-under and his 2-over on par-4s was second in the field.
"The last couple of tournaments I have been hitting my wedges and chipping poorly so my scoring shots were way off," Cochran said. "I've really worked on that the past couple of weeks and now it was back to where it should be. Our entire team is on the same page and it is a good feeling to have this late in the season."
Narramore was even on par-3 scoring to lead the tournament and he shot 4-under on the par-5s which put him among the top 10. He shot par or better on 43 of the 54 holes played.
Smith finished with 11 birdies while Bulle knocked in nine and led the tournament in par-5 scoring at 9-under. As a result of solid all-around play throughout the lineup, Middle Tennessee had a tournament-best 51 birdies and shot par on 139 holes. The Blue Raiders led the tournament in par-5 scoring (23-under) and par-4 scoring (40-over).
Middle Tennessee's second-round 286 was the tournament's low round and the Blue Raiders followed that impressive showing with a 295 in the third round - which proved to be the lowest round Tuesday. The team's 286 was the only round played under par during the three-round event.
"As a coach it is relaxing to have five guys in the lineup who can really play," Turnbow said. "We can go out there and play loose and they all know they have one another's back. The second round we played was just phenomenal. No one came close to breaking par all week so to shoot 286 under tough conditions was impressive. It was the best round I've been part of as a player or a coach. We came out (Tuesday) and our goal was to have the low round of the day and we did. That's how you win by 26 strokes."
The Blue Raiders will play host to the second Middle Tennessee/Aldila Invitational Monday and Tuesday at Old Fort Golf Course.
Carter Plantation Intercollegiate
Carter Plantation, Par-72
Final team scores
1 Middle Tennessee 300-286-295 881 +17
2 Marquette 298-303-306 907 +43
3 Louisiana-Lafayette 305-308-297 910 +46
4 Jacksonville State 313-297-306 916 +52
5 Southeastern Louisiana 303-307-310 920 +56
ULM 311-301-308 920 +56
7 New Orleans 306-216-300 922 +58
St. John's 320-301-301 922 +58
9 Arkansas State 312-311-312 935 +71
10 Texas-San Antonio 306-314-322 942 +78
11 Rice 312-318-313 943 +79
Louisiana Tech 321-320-302 943 +79
13 Troy 315-324-305 944 +80
14 Belmont 309-317-325 951 +87
15 Nicholls State 320-316-328 964 +100
1 MT Scores (881)
1 Rick Cochran 74-71-70 215 -1
T3 Chas Narramore 73-73-74 220 +4
T12 Craig Smith 77-73-76 226 +10
17 Kent Bulle 80-69-79 228 +12
18 Jason Millard 76-78-75 229 +13
* T23 Nick Bailes 75-78-79 232 +16
* - Played as individual
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