The No. 22 Tennessee men’s golf team finished the Southwestern Invitational in fifth place on Tuesday in their first tournament of the spring season.
After 54 holes and a score of 877 (+13), Tennessee finished eight strokes back of the host of the tournament, No. 12 Pepperdine, who finished in fourth. The contest contained some of California’s best, as four of the top five teams in the state were ranked in the top 50 by GolfStat.
Southern Cal won the tournament with a score of 860 (-4). Cal (-3) and UCLA (+1) rounded out the top three.
“This was a good experience coming out west and playing in this environment,” head coach Brennan Webb said. “We realize that we have a lot of things to work on and we will get back to Knoxville and get working on them and be ready to go at The Linger Longer.”
Hunter Wolcott was Tennessee’s top player on the individual leaderboard, as he tied for tenth after shooting even with a score of 216 after three rounds. This marks the third time this season that Wolcott earned a top 15 finish on the individual leaderboard.
“It’s easy to recognize that Hunter is a world class talent,” Webb said. “What people don’t realize is that because of his pedigree he also realizes what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of golf and is willing to put the time and energy into these things. He has a chance to do some special things in his career.”
Wolcott was not the only Vol to place inside the top 20. Brayden Garrison and Nolan Ray joined him by shooting (+2) and (+5), respectively.
This was the first time in the Tennessee lineup for Ray this season. His score was counted for all of his three rounds of play this week. His best round was a low of 71 (+1). Ray finished this tournament tied for 20th.
“Nolan (Ray) continues his solid play from Statesboro and qualifying,” Webb said. “He has probably worked harder than anyone on our team on his game since the end of the fall season and I am happy that he is starting to see the results pay off.”
Garrison finished the final round with a 73 (+1), which tied Ray for a team low for Tuesday’s play. The junior also finished with his third top 15 finish of this season. He spent almost the whole tournament inside of the top 15. Garrison got off to a hot start after hitting in two birdies in his first three holes of play.
Rhys Nevin finished tied for 35th with a score of 224 (+8) and Jake Meenhorst ended the tournament with a score of 232 (+16) and tied for 54th.
Tennessee travels to Greensboro, Georgia on March 15-17 to compete in the Linger Longer Invitational.