The Tennessee men’s golf team earned a seventh-place finish at the Windon Memorial Classic in Glencoe, Ill. after the final round was delayed until Monday after darkness suspended play on Sunday.
It was the second event of the young season for the Volunteers, who won the Carpet Capital Collegiate in September by 12 shots, thanks largely to a 14-under-par 274 in the third and final round.
Despite entering the tournament as the No. 1-ranked team in the country, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, head coach Jim Kelson stressed that it was a long season, and he hopes his team is playing its best golf by the time the SEC and NCAA Championships take place in the spring.
“It’s very early in the season,” he said, “… and while it’s nice to have an accolade such as this, we’re really concerned about the ranking that comes out in early June.”
The Vols shot 299 in each of the first two rounds before shooting a 293 on Monday to give the team a total score of 893, 39-over-par. Sixth-ranked Illinois won the event with a 16-over-par 868.
Junior Robin Wingardh led the way for UT shooting a 6-over-par 216 over the course of the three rounds. Individually, Wingardh tied for ninth after recording a triple-bogey on the final hole Monday.
Sophomores Darren Renwick and Justin Walker tied for 30th with 12-over-par 225 each. Senior David Holmes shot a 14-over-par 227 to tie for 42nd, while junior Cameron Lawrence’s 15-over-par 228 was good enough for 47th.
Renwick, a native of Wothing, England, has been a regular on the Vols’ leaderboard all season. Over the summer Renwick tied for third at the British Amateur Championships, and Kelson credits Renwick’s hard work as a reason he has “gotten better and better everyday” since arriving on Rocky Top.
“He’s been an enormous help to our team in (confidence) just by his work ethic (and) showing up early and staying late for practice,” Kelson said. “He is taking advantage of his time and effort. Our team notices that, and it’s been great to see.”
Renwick credits his teammates for the improvement in his game and believes the competition in practice is what makes Tennessee a fixture atop leaderboards.
“One of the reasons I have improved a lot and am shooting good scores is because we have really good players on our team,” Renwick said. “Practicing with such really good players every day just improves my game.”
In Kelson’s 12 seasons at Tennessee, the Vols have won only one SEC title in 2007. This year, he feels his team can bring home another title.
“This is a team that’s looking for huge things this year,” Kelson said. “We’ve got some awfully high expectations and goals. I think we have the guys to achieve some lofty stuff here.”
The team’s next tournament will be the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate in Jonesborough, Tenn. from Oct. 16 to Oct. 19, followed by the two-day UNCG Bridgestone Golf Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C. on Oct. 24 to Oct. 25.