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Women's golf eyes best finish at SBC Championships

Wilkins in eighth entering final round

April 22, 2008 · MT Media Relations

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. - Middle Tennessee first-year women's golf coach Chris Adams has persisted that patience would pay off for the Blue Raiders this season and her team is proving her right at the best time.

Middle Tennessee shot its third lowest round of the spring, 308, in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference Championships on the Schoolmaster Course at the Robert Trent Jones Trail and is on pace for its best finish in the league tournament entering Wednesday's final round. The Blue Raiders are also on pace for their highest finish this spring.

The Blue Raiders are in third with a 613 after two rounds and trail front-runner Denver by 29 shots, while South Alabama is second at 610.

"I'm proud of the players and the manner in which they have attacked a very difficult course," Adams said. "We had some tough moments out there today but the players maintained their composure and poise and found a way to stay near the top of the standings entering the final round."

Leigh Wilkins, a junior from Murfreesboro, turned in the day's best round for Middle Tennessee with a 1-over 73 and stands in eighth with a 6-over 150 after two rounds. Her strong play was accentuated by a round that included five birdies as she played the back even.

"I was hitting the ball well today and able to hit some good approach shots to put myself in position for a good score," Wilkins said. "I left some shots out there but I felt like I made the most of the round. I'm really pleased that we are doing our best to put it all together here in the conference tournament. Denver is shooting a great score and they are way ahead but we are battling and we are fighting for a finish at the top of the standings."

Wilkins' finish was most impressive because it demonstrated what the team has been about this tournament. She had a double bogey on No. 5 but maintained her focus and closed the round with two birdies, a par and a bogey.

Senior Taryn Durham, a three-time All-Sun Belt selection, turned in a 4-over 76 Tuesday and is 9-over 153 through two rounds. She is tied for 13th overall, followed by senior Jamey Dillard who bounced back with a 77 after opening with an 80. Dillard is tied for 23rd, along with teammate Morgan Hale. Clara Leathers is tied for 36th with a 159.

"I've been very pleased with the progress the players have made this spring and it's encouraging to see them put it together in the conference tournament," Adams said. "Could we have a little better score? Sure, but to be in third at this point and playing a really difficult course, I'm pleased with what is happening here. We can build on this round going into tomorrow."

Middle Tennessee's highest finish at the SBC Championships is third on two occasions.

Sun Belt Conference Championships
Robert Trent Jones at the Shoals
Schoolmaster Course, Par 72
Second Round Team Scores

1 Denver 288-296 584 +8
2 South Alabama 305-305 610 +34
3 Middle Tennessee 305-308 613 +37
4 UALR 309-305 614 +38
5 Florida International 305-311 616 +40
6 Arkansas State 317-305 622 +46
7 Florida Atlantic 314-312 626 +50
8 North Texas 322-308 630 +54
9 Western Kentucky 328-303 631 +55
10 Louisiana-Monroe 316-317 633 +57
11 Troy 327-319 646 +70

3 MT Scores (613)
8 Leigh Wilkins 77-73 150 +6
T13 Taryn Durham 77-76 153 +9
T23 Jamey Dillard 80-77 157 +13
T23 Morgan Hale 75-82 157 +13
T36 Clara Leathers 76-83 159 +15

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