FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Freshman Mitch Thomas didn't take long to make an impact on his new team after transfering to Tennessee Tech following a year at King College. The Golden Eagle newcomer led his new team Friday in the first round of the Mason Rudolph Men's Championship at The Legends Golf Course, firing a one-under 70 to grab a share of 10th place individually and lead the Golden Eagles to a share of 10th place in a challenging field of 15 outstanding teams.
Begining play on No. 10 South, Thomas bogeyed No. 12 but bounced back to score birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to move to one-under. He had another bogey on 16, making the turn at even-par. On his second nine, Thomas marked six straight pars, then chipped in from the greenside sand trap for a birdie three on No. 7, moving him back to one-under.
Junior Greg Kitts also chipped one in from just off the green on No. 6, earning a birdie on the 590-yard, par 5. He finished the day with fourt birdies, nine pars, four bogeys and a double-bogey six on his first hole of the day. That left him at two-over 73, and tied for 33rd place in the field of 84 golfers. He ranked third in the tourney in par 5 scoring.
Senior Lee Maxwell and freshman Lee Whitehead (photo at left) are next for Tech, each finishing at four-over 75 to place them in a tie for 52nd place. Maxwell had one birdie, one double-bogey and three bogeys for the day on the 7,100-yard layout. Whitehead's first collegiate round was mostly uneventful as he quietly posted 15 pars, two bogeys and one double-bogey. His 15 pars was second-best in the tourney.
Freshman Adam Cunningham, also playing his first collegiate round, is tied for 81st place after shooting 81. He carded seven bogeys and one double-bogey in addition to 10 pars.
Virginia's Denny McCarthy is the individual leader after one round with a four-under 67, but it didn't help the Cavaliers who find themselves in tie for 12th place.
Oklahoma is the first round team leader with a solid 280 total, led by Abraham Ancer, one of three player tied for second at 68. Mississippi and College of Charleston are tied for second place at 285, with host Vanderbilt in fourth place (286) and Georgia State and Georgia Southern (289) tied for fifth.
South Alabama (291) is in seventh place, followed by Davidson and Middle Tennessee (292) tied for eighth, while Tech and Mississippi State (293) are tied for 10th. The remainder of the field incudes East Tennessee and Virginia (296) tied for 12th, Arkansas State (297) and Rice (299).
The second round begins Saturday at 8 a.m., with the third round schedule for Sunday morning.