UTC golfer Menni Weilguni finished second at the Carpet Capital Collegiate tournament Sunday in Rocky Face, Ga. Photo by Allison Carter
ROCKY FACE, Ga. -- One by one, as University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfers finished their rounds and signed their scorecards, they relaxed behind the 18th green at The Farm Golf Club.
Actually, they reflected more than they relaxed. The Mocs entered the final round of the Carpet Capital Collegiate on Sunday tied for second place.
They finished sixth, middle of the pack, in one of the strongest fall-tournament fields on the college golf schedule. Coach Mark Guhne said his squad could have, and probably should have, finished better.
"I don't think we played the kind of golf we're capable of playing," Guhne said of his squad which is No. 38 in the GolfWeek rankings. "I'm a little disappointed in today's round.
"We were in pretty good shape going into today, and we didn't get it done."
The Tigers led by five shots heading into the final round, and shot 6 under par on Sunday for a three-day total of 13-under 851. They did so without Walker Cup participant Blayne Barber and head coach Nick Clinard who were in Scotland.
"I'm sure we'll be heading out for steak and lobster once Blayne and coach get back," assistant coach Evan Osteen said. "They all stuck to their game plan. We came out and played pretty well today against a good field."
UTC sophomore Benni Weilguni played better than all but one golfer in the tournament. Welguni finished shot 6 under for three rounds including a 71 on Sunday -- despite a two-stroke penalty for a lost ball on hole No. 3 -- and finished runner-up to Alabama's Justin Thomas who won with a 10-under total.
"Today, I seemed unlucky and had some stupid mistakes, and that's why I couldn't go lower," Weilguni said. "I think we got off to a good start for the season, but we all know that we can play much better."
Only four golfers in the 22-year history of the Carpet Capital Collegiate have played better rounds than Thomas did on Sunday. He came within one putt of tying the single-round record of 8-under 64 with a calm 7-under 65 on Sunday.
He joins a list of Carpet Capital medalists that includes Stewart Cink, Tim Clark and Lucas Glover who have all won PGA Tour events.
"It's definitely cool to join that list," said Thomas, who shot a 30 on the back nine. "Hopefully it's the start to a good career."
Tennessee finished second at 8 under with former Baylor School golfer Jay Vandeventer shooting 4 under.
Former Rhea Count golfer Hunter Green tied for 11th individually to help MTSU tie for 11th with South Carolina.
Georgia Tech finished third at 7 under thanks to a single round record-tying 14 under team effort on Sunday. Alabama placed fourth at 2 under to top Clemson by one and UTC by two strokes.
"Everybody had glimpses of looking good," Guhne said. "I know they're a little disappointed because they don't think they played up to their potential.
"These guys are capable of playing better than that."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...