Best closing round in program history caps strong comeback
Blue Raiders finish fourth at Mason Rudolph ChampionshipSeptember 28, 2008 · MT Athletic Communications
The 6-under 278 in the final round is the best third-round showing in school history and the team total 854 is the fifth best three-round tournament total in program history.
Not bad considering the Blue Raiders were in 11th after shooting 10-over during Friday's first round; however, they made a significant move Saturday and put together one of the more noteworthy team performances for a single round Sunday to continue their ascent up the leader board.
Middle Tennessee passed several teams to salvage its second consecutive top five finish to start the fall season. South Carolina (839) won the event by eight shots over second-place Kentucky (847), followed by Mississippi State (850), Middle Tennessee (854) and Vanderbilt (855) in the top five spots.
"I'm very proud of this team and they way they fought back all weekend," Middle Tennessee coach Whit Turnbow said. "They didn't lay down but that was never a question. We just put ourselves in such a big hole after the first round. That's two straight tournaments were we have slow starts so that's something we have to work on eliminating or the results could be even better."
Jason Millard's 8-under 205 led Middle Tennessee and tied for second overall. His 205 is the second all-time for best three-round tournament at Middle Tennessee. Rick Cochran fashioned his ninth career Top 10 finish with a 1-under 212 to finish tied for ninth, followed by Chas Narramore (220), Craig Smith (222) and Brad Simons (225).
Sunday's rally was a total team effort as all four Blue Raiders who contributed to the lineup were even or better, led by Cochran and Narramore at 3-under. Cochran's run began Saturday after he bogeyed his opening hole. He was bogey free the rest of the round and stretched his streak of consecutive holes without a bogey to 33 before he was 1-over on the par-5 17 Sunday. Cochran bounced back with an eagle on 18 to cap a 3-under work of art
Narramore's story was almost as compelling. Disappointed with his play after two rounds the senior standout came back with a 3-under 68 Sunday, highlighted by a stretch of five straight birdies on the back. Smith was 1-under on the back Sunday to conclude his return to the course on a favorable note.
In all, Middle Tennessee players combined for 10 birdies and an eagle on the respective closing holes to make the final push.
Mason Rudolph Championship
Vanderbilt Legends Club, Par-71
Final Team Scores
1 South Carolina 281-280-278 839 -13
2 Kentucky 295-283-279 847 -5
3 Mississippi State 291-282-277 850 -2
4 Middle Tennessee 294-282-278 854 +2
5 Vanderbilt 283-286-286 855 +3
6 South Alabama 288-279-296 863 +11
7 Memphis 295-284-285 864 +12
8 Eastern Michigan 289-290-288 867 +15
T9 Arkansas State 284-288-297 869 +17
T9 UNC-Greensboro 298-280-291 869 +17
11 Purdue 286-293-291 870 +18
12 Kennesaw State 286-288-298 872 +20
13 Western Carolina 289-294-297 880 +28
14 Belmont 295-290-296 881 +29
15 Western Kentucky 300-292-295 887 +35
16 Iowa State 305-289-296 890 +38
17 Tennessee State 314-293-319 926 +74
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