Blue Raiders tee off 2011-12 golf season

MT faces highly-ranked competition in first tourney

September 9, 2011 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - When youngsters need to learn a lesson, they are sometimes taken to the woodshed. Blue Raider men’s golf coach Whit Turnbow is taking his young team to “The Farm”. While “The Farm” is a much nicer setting than a woodshed, it will still be a learning experience.

The golfers will open the 2011-12 season this weekend against one of the strongest fields of competition that the Blue Raiders will likely see all year, short of the NCAA tournament.

“There is no doubt that this is the strongest fall tournament field that anyone has ever put together,” said Turnbow. “It will be good for our guys to play against this type of competition.”

Turnbow takes his young but veteran team to The Farm Club on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to tee it up against some of the best teams in all of collegiate golf.

The Farm Club, located in Rocky Face, Georgia, just outside of Dalton, is the site of the prestigious Carpet Capital Collegiate. It is a three-day, 54-hole shootout that will pit the Blue Raiders against Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, and Tennessee of the SEC, the ACC’s Clemson, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, as well as regional powers Chattanooga and Kennesaw State. Alabama is the defending champion. Fans may follow the Blue Raiders, hole by hole, on GolfStat.com.

The Farm Club is a challenging 7,012-yard, Par 72 course. Turnbow describes it as “a really beautiful place, an exclusive private course. They’ve been having the Carpet Capital for 15-20 years now, and it’s really a unique event. We’ve been trying to get in for quite some time, and this year we got in. Obviously, it’s not the sort of event that you want to turn down.”

Turnbow pointed out that it will give his team a pretty good idea right off the bat where they stand. “That is where we are trying to go with this thing, to get on that elite level, and in order to get there, these are the teams we have to go through.

“I tell the team all the time that success is when preparation meets opportunity, and we have a tremendous opportunity here. I think we’ve done our part to prepare, so hopefully, it will all work out.” “There are no cupcakes in this field, including us. We’re no cupcake either. We’ve earned the right to play in this kind of field, and we’re going to go down there and play hard, add them up at the end, and see what happens.”

While noting that every team is different, Turnbow feels good about this team. Despite losing two-time All-American Jason Millard to graduation, he feels the team will be much better from a depth perspective, and may be better overall.

The Blue Raiders will go with senior Hunter Green, junior Douglas Harris, and three sophomores, Brett Patterson, Jordon Jennings and Lucas Armstrong, a transfer from East Tennessee State.

“Harris is walk-on, the first time I’ve had a walk-on make the team in ten years,” revealed Turnbow. “He came from Tennessee Tech three years ago and has worked his way into the lineup. He’s a super kid, and he’s earned his shot in our qualifier.”

Turnbow emphasized that this team is much deeper than the Blue Raider team that went to the NCAA tournament for the fourth time last year.

“We had the deepest, most competitive qualifier that we have ever had. Last year we had an issue around the fifth and sixth spots that we don’t have this year. We are much deeper. Adding Lucas Armstrong was a huge piece of that. We’ve also got Andrew Cho, from Korea, who was not eligible last year who is now ready to go.”

Turnbow believes this makes the whole team more competitive.

“Last year, I kind of had to hang on to the same guys in the same spots. Now, if a guy doesn’t play well, he goes back into the qualifier the next week. They can expect to be in more qualifiers this year.”

The Carpet Capital will be the first of three fall tournaments for the Blue Raiders. They will also compete in the Mason Rudolph Intercollegiate Sept. 23-25, and at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate Oct. 3-5.

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