Improvement in second round lifts Tech to ninth at Great Smokies tourney

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. -- Tennessee Tech had the sixth-best team score of the day Sunday, led by dramatically improved scores from Carley Rhyne and Amanda Randolph, as the Golden Eagle women's golf team climbed into a tie for ninth place among the 24 teams at the Great Smokies Invitational.

Tech opened the day in a tie for 14th place after shooting a 304 on Saturday, placing coach Brandy Stout's team in a logjam of teams in the middle of the pack.With Rhyne slicing 10 shots of her first-round score for a three-under 69, and Randolph chopping nine shots of her total, the Golden Eagles closed play Sunday with a 293.

Rhyne finished in a tie for 25th place at 79-69--148. Katherine Bell, who was tied for the tourney lead Saturday night with a 69, slipped to an 80 Sunday and wound up tied for 31st place at 149. Freshman Amber Shepherd was the most consistent scorer in the lineup, also finishing tied for 31st place after shooting 76-73--149.

Randolph went from an 80 to a 71 to finish 44th at 151, while freshman Ericka Wann wrapped up play tied for 115th place at 84-80---164.

Jacksonville State, playing in the Great Smokies Invitational for the first time, claimed thet eam title by carding back-to-back matching scores of 289 for a 578. That gave the OVC's Gamecocks an eight-shot edge over runnerup Radford, which improved by 16 shots from a 301 to a tourney-best 285 for a 586.

Elon and host Western Carolina tied for third place at 588, followed ny Gardner-Webb and Middle Tennessee at 591. Old Dominion was seventh (592), followed by Wofford, William & Mary and the Golden Eagles at 597.

Western Kentucky (599) was 12th, while the bottom half of the 24-team standings were started with Appalachian State (600).

Tech takes a break from competition for a couple of weeks, with its next tournament coming the second week of October (11-12) at the Arkansas State Invitational.