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Blue Raider golfers look to rebound this weekend

Field has seven teams ranked in Top 100

April 8, 2011 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - For the first time this spring, the Middle Tennessee men's golf team will be looking to rebound from a loss, and will have to accomplish that against the strongest field they have faced so far when they tee it up in the Irish Creek Intercollegiate in Kannapolis, NC, on Saturday and Sunday.

Hosted by UNC Charlotte, and featuring Atlantic Coast Conference powers Duke, Wake Forest, and North Carolina as well as Coastal Carolina, Louisville, and Virginia Commonwealth, the Irish Creek Intercollegiate will be a tough venue for the Blue Raiders to get back on the torrid pace they set by winning their first three tournaments of the spring.

After winning those three by margins of 11, 19 and 18 strokes, Middle Tennessee struggled and finished sixth, 12 strokes off the lead, in the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate, hosted by Ole Miss last week.

"We didn't play as well as we had been playing this spring, but you can't win them all, nobody can. We had to count a 75 in the first round, and a 77 in the second round, and still finished sixth, which was huge for us," Turnbow said. "When you have to count a 77, you aren't going to win a 36-hole tournament.

"We are all disappointed, but at the same time it may have been better for us as a team in the long run," Turnbow pointed out. "Call it a wake-up call, a re-focusing of our goals. But we survived. We had three guys that finished outside of the Top 50, and normally when you do that, you don't finish sixth."

There were some bright spots, however, such as Jason Millard's 67 on the second day, the lowest round of the tournament. Millard wound up tied for third place. Turnbow also had high praise for freshman Brett Patterson, who shot two-under-par 142 to finish eighth.

Millard continues to lead the team and the Sun Belt Conference in stroke average with 70.8, followed by Green at 72.5, Patterson at 72.6, Brad Simons at 74.3, and Paul Sansom at 75.2 .

"Golfers have to have short memories, and that's the thing we talked about on the way home from Ole Miss. We had one day back home to go to class, wash our clothes, say hello to everybody, and then we headed to North Carolina on Thursday," said Turnbow, who feels the team has put the Ole Miss tournament behind them, and is ready to move on. "This is a really good field, and everything we are doing now is to prepare us for the Sun Belt Conference tournament the end of this month."

In Charlotte, the Blue Raiders will face three teams ranked in the Top 50 and seven ranked in the top 100. Duke leads the way with a #17 national ranking, followed by Wake Forest (28th), Kennesaw State (44th), Coastal Carolina (61st), UNC-Charlotte (62nd), North Carolina (68th), and UNC Greensboro (85th). The latest rankings from GolfStat came out Wednesday with Middle Tennessee dropping from 38 to 43.

Irish Creek is a Davis Love III Signature Course, and carries a Par 71 over its 7,099 yards. The two-day tournament will be a 54-hole affair, with 36 on Saturday, and 18 on Sunday. Live results will be available on GolfStat.com.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.