Thomas is first day pacesetter for Tech; Golden Eagles 10th at Rees Jones


DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, S.C. -- Freshman Mitch Thomas was tied for fourth place following an even-par 72 in the first round Monday morning, then shot a 77 in the afternoon, keeping him in the Top 10 while leading the Tennessee Tech men's golf team during the first day of the Rees Jones Invitational.

The 54-hole tournament, being hosted by the University of South Carolina at Haig Point, concludes with a final round Tuesday.

Liberty University built a commanding lead, shooting rounds of 284 and 290 for a 36-hole team total of 574. That gives the Flames a 17-shot lead over host USC, which carded Monday scores of 295 and 296 for a 591 total. Winthrop (594) is three shots back in third place, followed by East Carolina (601) and Charlotte (602) in the Top Five.

The second five includes Kennesaw State (609), UNC Wilmington (612), Iowa State (614), Charleston Southern (616) and Tennessee Tech (621). The field also includes Francis Marion (625) and Presbyterian (645).

Thomas, who is the No. 4 player in the Tech lineup, enjoyed a solid day of play on Monday to lead the team to consistent team scores of 310 and 311. Freshman Lee Whitehead was the most consistent player in coach Polk Brown's lineup, scoring rounds of 77 and 78, placing him in a tie for 37th place at 155.

Junior Greg Kitts sliced four shots off his first round 81 to finish with a 77, placing him 47th at 158. Freshman Adam Cunningham did the opposite, scoring an 80 followed by an 84 for his 164 to put him in a tie for 58th place. Senior Lee Maxwell bounced back from a disappointing first round 92 with a 79 on his second tour of the course, leaving him in 62nd place at 171.