The Tennessee men’s golf team started off the year with a second-place finish at the Carpet Capital Collegiate tournament in Rock Face, Ga. The Volunteers posted a final team score of 856, eight-under-par.
    
One of the players who stood out on the final day of play was Marshall Talkington. Marshall shot the best final round for the Vols on Sunday with a 69, and finished the weekend tied for 25th with a three-over-par 219.
    
Marshall, a sophomore at UT, started the week with a tough break in the first round, double bogeying the 18th hole to finish four over at 76. Then, he came out Saturday and shot his career round of 74, which he followed up on Sunday by shooting even lower.
   
 “The course stayed the same during all three rounds,” Talkington said. “You can score on it, but bad shots can penalize you quick. It’s an overall tricky course.”
    
The Vols did not get the win, losing to Auburn by five strokes, but they made huge strides for the season, beating five ranked opponents including No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Georgia Tech, No. 15 Georgia, No. 16 Clemson and No. 17 LSU. Even though Tennessee was not ranked at the beginning of the season, they accumulated votes.
    
“They should be encouraged,” UT coach Jim Kelson said. “They played well. They played solid. But they thought they left just enough shots out there where they could have made it a little bit closer.”
    
Tennessee started off the tournament in seventh place after round one. Danny Keddie and Garrick Porteous each shot even-par 72 during the first round, while the rest of the team backed them up, shooting five-over, making Tennessee’s score 293. Adding to that score was Jay Vandeventer with a one-over-par 73, Talkington notching a 76, and Renwick’s 78.
    
Day two showed promise for the Volunteers when the team shot a seven-under-par 281. Garrick Porteous carried the team with a four-under-par 68 which moved him to a tie for third place individually. Jay Vandeventer tied his career-low round with a 69. The Vols matched their low round record from last year after Keddie shot a 71 and Darren Renwick finished with a 73. The day ended with the Vols tied for second with Chattanooga and Clemson.
    
The final day, the Vols were led by Talkington and Vandeventer. Vandeventer finished the tournament seventh, his best finish as a Volunteer. Porteous had the best finish for the Vols coming in third place individually, shooting five-over-par 211 for the weekend. Danny Keddie finished at 14th and notched his fifth top-15 performance in just nine matches, while Renwick placed 42nd for the Volunteers.
    
“I have worked on all aspects of my golf game, but the mental aspect was big for me,” Talkington said. “Coach Kelson has really helped me along in the psychology aspect of my game.”
    
The second-place finish begins the year off better than last when the Vols finished eighth in this tournament.
    
“It’s nice to get off to a good start because it’s always really important, especially after our start last year,” Kelson said.
    
The best finish in all four fall tournaments in 2010 was fifth place.
    
The Volunteers have some time off before they jump back into tournament play at the beginning of October when they travel to Durham, N.C., for the Rod Meyers Invitational.