Fresh off one of its most successful seasons under head coach Jerry Carpenter, the University of Tennessee at Martin golf team travels to Pineville, Ky. for its season-opener at the Wasioto Winds Fall Kickoff Invitational, hosted by Morehead State.
The tournament will include two rounds on Monday, Sept. 9 and a final round on Tuesday, Sept. 10. In addition to UTM and host Morehead State, Bellarmine, Murray State, Pikeville, Spalding and Walters State will also participate in the tournament which will take place at Wasioto Winds Golf Course in Pineville, Ky.
The Skyhawks are coming off a 2012-13 season in which they captured three tournament championships in a span of a month last spring. UTM returns seven players from last season’s squad, who ranked No. 5 nationally in fairways hit.
Amongst the returners are 2013 All-Ohio Valley Conference performers Brendon Caballero and Ben Reeves. A junior out of Brentwood, Tenn., Caballero became UTM’s first All-OVC golfer since 1999 and is coming off a second-place finish (one shot back) in the OVC championships last April. Meanwhile, the Knoxville, Tenn. native Reeves snagged All-OVC Newcomer honors while becoming the first-ever Skyhawk to win OVC Freshman of the Year accolades in 2013.
Carpenter hopes that UTM will benefit from the leadership of three seniors this season. Tyler Shellnut carded a 10th place finish in last year’s OVC championships and earned medalist honors in one tournament last season. John Sisinni (two-time All-OVC Tournament honoree) and Clay Harbin (second on the team in total short game in 2012-13) will also look to contribute this season.
Tyler Guy, who earned one of five spots as a freshman to represent UTM at the 2013 OVC championships, also returns this season. One year after ranking in the top-25 in the nation in scoring average by a freshman, Guy will look for a repeat performance in 2013-14.
Redshirt freshman Peyton Deming, along with true freshmen Gavin Shellnut and Austin Swafford will also push for top spots this season. Deming accounted for top-10 finishes in the TSSAA state tournament all four years of high school. Shellnut joins his brother Tyler after racking up back-to-back top-five finishes at the TSSAA state tournament. Swafford brings an impressive line of amateur accomplishments to UTM, including a second-place finish at the 2012 AAU national championship.
The Skyhawks will take part in 12 tournaments in 2013-14, five of which will take place in the fall. UTM will once again host the Skyhawk Fall Classic at Paris Landing State Park on Oct. 6-8 and the Grover Page Classic at the Jackson Country Club on March 9-11. The 2014 OVC championships are set for April 25-27 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Florence, Ala.