The Tennessee men’s golf team opened the 2018-19 season this weekend with a win. The Vols navigated a loaded field at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Invitational for a playoff win over Georgia Tech in head coach Brennan Webb’s Tennessee debut.
Webb was announced as the Vols new coach in June after former coach Jim Kelson retired. Webb, who led MTSU to back-to-back Regional appearances during his three year stint in Murfreesboro, was proud of his team’s resilient effort.
“I am very proud of these guys,” Webb said. “They had a stressful summer but they came to campus open minded and ready to get to work and since day one. They could not have impressed me more with their desire and work ethic.”
“I am glad they got to experience today and see that they can play with any team in the country. They earned this all by themselves and I could not be happier for them."
Tennessee and Georgia Tech separated themselves from the loaded field on Friday as the Vols posted an 8-under-par round, and No. 7 Georgia Tech shot 7-under-par. The two schools were the only teams in the 15 team field to post scores under par.
Juniors Jake Meenhorst and Brayden Garrison pushed Tennessee out ahead Friday as they both shot a 3-under-par 69 to tie themselves for second place.
"It was a great feeling to post a low number for the start of the season,” Meenhorst said. “The round had a bit of everything in it, but I was pleased to finish in the 60s and help the team."
Tennessee stayed hot Saturday, shooting 12-under-par and improving to 20-under-par on the weekend. Heading into Sunday the Vols were tied for first and paired with No. 7 Georgia Tech (-20) and No. 2 Alabama (-18).
"I would hope that it gives them a sense that they belong with these teams,” Webb said. “My message to them this year is that they are better than anyone has given them credit for and capable of competing with anyone. These last two days prove that."
After 18 more holes on Sunday, Georgia Tech and Tennessee were still knotted up at 21-under-par. The Vols would go on to win the event in a playoff. The victory was huge for the confidence of the team and first year head coach.
"It was incredible, the coaches were so calm and positive which gave us players confidence,” Meenhorst said. “Just their presence made us all relaxed and we're stoked to win this week in such a big event.”
Three Vols placed in the top 10 as Meenhorst tied for second, Rhys Nevin tied for sixth, and Garrison tied for eighth.
Tennessee will be back in action on September 24 in the Inverness Intercollegiate in Toledo.