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Pioneers host 25th annual Tusculum Invitational this weekend

The beautiful par-5 eighth hole at Link Hills Country Club - home of the Tusculum Invitational
The beautiful par-5 eighth hole at Link Hills Country Club - home of the Tusculum Invitational

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum will host eight collegiate men's golf teams at the 25th annual Tusculum Invitational this weekend at Link Hills Country Club.  The two-day, 54-hole event will be conducted on the par-71, 6,733-yard layout.

The opening round will begin on Saturday with a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start which will be followed by the second round with teams remaining in their first round groups.  Sunday's final round will also be a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start.

The Pioneers are the three-time defending champions and have led wire-to-wire in each of the last two spring home tournaments.  TC claimed its ninth overall title and fifth in the last seven years as the Pioneers shot a two-day score of 569 (+1) to win by four strokes over runner up Brevard.  Tusculum has won their home spring tournament in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

This year's tournament field includes Tusculum, Bluefield College, Bluefield State College, Cleveland State Community College, Shorter University, Spartanburg Methodist College, Union College (Ky.), UVa-Wise, and Walters State College. 

Senior David Whinery leads the Pioneers with his 74.65 scoring average which includes a team-best three top-20 finishes.  The Hinsdale, Illinois product finished third as last year's Tusculum Invitational with a three-under par total of 70-69=139.

Sophomore Anthony Bolden is second on the squad with his 74.76 stroke average as he has posted a pair of top-20 performances.  Bolden finished runner-up at the Bob Dibble Classic last fall at Link Hills where he lost in a thrilling nine-hole playoff.  The Mokena, Illinois native also tied for ninth place at last year's Tusculum Invitational with 74-69=143 (+1).

Senior Brandon Alexander's 76.24 stroke average is third on the team and has accounted for two finishes in the top-20 with his best showing coming at the Dibble Classic where he tied for 12th place with 73-72=145 (+3).  The Fallston, North Carolina native tied for 18th place at the Richard Rendleman Invitational earlier this month and tied for 25th at this week's Cape Fear National Intercollegiate.

Freshman Liam Sweeney (Palos Park, Ill.) has a 78.20 stroke average which is fourth on the Tusculum team.  Sweeney has played in six events and has a pair of top-30 performances to his credit including a 27th-place finish at the Dibble Classic in September.

Rookie Bennett Noe (Knoxville, Tenn.) has appeared in all seven of the team's events this season and has an 80.19 stroke average.  Noe posted his best showing of the year at the Walters State Fall Classic where he tied for 26th place.

Freshman Carter Simon, a native of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, is averaging 81.0 strokes per round and has seen action in four events.  He shot a season-best 74 in the final round of the Dibble Classic last fall and tied for 34th at the Walters State Fall Classic.

Freshman Mathew Kowalski (Milan, Ohio) has an 82.17 scoring average while playing in three events including a 45th place finish at the Dibble Classic.  Sophomore Hunter Chandley (Johnson City, Tenn.) played in two fall events including a 27th-place finish at the Dibble Classic where he fired an opening round 73.  He has a scoring average of 82.50.

Sophomore Trey Blevins (Monticello, Ky.) will be making his collegiate debut this week at the Tusculum Invitational.  Blevins the last one-and-half seasons on the Tusculum men's basketball team.

Admission to the Tusculum Invitational is free and open to the public.

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"TUSCULUM WILL PREPARE STUDENT-ATHLETES TO BECOME PRINCIPLED LEADERS WHO ARE CONTRIBUTING CITIZENS AND CHAMPIONS IN LIFE BY INSTILLING THE HIGHEST VALUES OF CHARACTER, INTEGRITY, AND SPORTSMANSHIP."

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