Raiders lacking low scores in C-USA opening round –


TEXARKANA, Ark. – Middle Tennessee will have some ground to make up Tuesday during the second round of the Conference USA Championship after landing in 10th after a first round team score of 8-over par 296 on Monday at Texarkana Country Club.
Despite being six places removed from the Top 4 spot they need to claim a berth in match play, the Blue Raiders are only seven strokes behind fourth place Louisiana Tech (+1) with 36 holes of stroke play still to come.
“Today was definitely a tough day for us,” Head Coach Mark McEntire said. “We never got comfortable with the course and got over par early. This golf course does not give up many birdies so you can’t get too aggressive.”
Senior Tanner Owens was steady as can be all day, finishing his round with back-to-back birdies to move into the Top 5 on the individual leaderboard at 2-under par (70).
Owens will open round two just a pair of strokes off the pace set by UTSA’s Chad Sewell (-4) and UAB’s Khavish Varadan (-4).
Fellow upperclassman Connor McKay matched Owens’ birdie-birdie finish on the day, but after a rocky start was only able climb back to 3-over par (75) for the day.
Rookie Owen Stamper was in stride with Owens thru the first 12 holes before a double bogey on 13 and bogey on 17 dropped him to a 3-over par (75) finish on Monday.
Freshman classmate Kevin Jegers carded a 4-over par 76, his worst 18-hole total since his collegiate debut round at the Raines Company Intercollegiate – a 5-over par 77 – and will look to bounce back on Tuesday.
Redshirt sophomore Michael Barnard will look to post some more red numbers over the next two rounds after carding just one birdie on Monday and posting a 7-over par 79.
“We got a great round from Tanner today,” McEntire added. “I still really like this team and know what they are capable of shooting. Over the next two rounds we need to come up with a good game plan that will allow us to move up the leaderboard.
“There is a lot of golf still to play, but we’ll need some really solid rounds to move into the top 4.”
Middle Tennessee will tee off on No. 10 Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. with Barnard leading the way.

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