OLD HICKORY, Tenn. — The Walters State golf team closed out its regular season Tuesday afternoon with one of its best rounds of the year in posting a 10th place finish in the predominantly NCAA Division I field at the Big Blue Intercollegiate hosted by Tennessee State University at the Hermitage Golf Club President's Reserve.
The Senators put together a final round score of 6-over par 290 to end the event at 33-over par 885, putting them in 10th place, 16 shots clear of the only other junior college team in the field, John A. Logan.
Tennessee Tech, the lead after the opening 36 holes on Monday, closed out the tournament with three straight team rounds under par to win the event with a total of 8-under par 844, which was eight shots clear of the two teams that tied for second place, Murray State and Wright State, at 852. UT-Martin was fourth at 856, followed by Longwood in fifth at 860.
Tennessee State ended up in sixth place at 866, followed by Detroit Mercy (871), Evansville (879), Green Bay (880) and Walters State in the top 10. North Dakota was 11th at 889, followed by John A. Logan (901), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (911) and Chicago State (939) in the 14-team field.
Alex Hodge had a strong close to the event for the Senators, as he followed back-to-back rounds of 72 on Monday with a closing 69 to end up in a tie for ninth place at even par 213. Dane Rheinecker shot a final round 71 to finish in a tie for 47th place at 223 (79-73-71), while Andrew Linkous was one stroke behind Rheinecker in a tie for 53rd position at 224 (72-77-75). Hunter Blanked finished in 64th place with a three-round score of 228 (77-76-75), while Stephen Owen came home in a tie for 67th place with a total of 230 (76-77-77).
Tennessee Tech's Bryce Beeler was the individual medalist with a 54-hole score of 208 (68-69-71), winning by one stroke over Murray State's Avery Edwards at 209 (74-69-66).
The Senators will begin postseason play on Tuesday, April 23, when they participate in the NJCAA District J Tournament, being hosted by NJCAA Region VII, which consists of Walters State, Cleveland State and Roane State. The tournament will be held over a two-day span at The Château Élan Golf Club in Braselton, Georgia, and it is a qualifying tournament for the NJCAA Division II National Championships, which will be held May 21-24 at Swan Lake Resort in Indiana.