MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Sophomore Casper Kennedy fired a final-round three-under-par 69 to move 20 spots up the leaderboard and pace the Francis Marion University golf team at the seventh-annual Intercollegiate at The Grove Tournament on Tuesday.
The Patriots finished 10-over par at 586, 13-shots off the lead, which was good enough for a Top-10 finish. The eighth-place standing was a one-spot improvement over the squad’s round-one performance.
This is Kennedy’s first Top-5 performance at Francis Marion and his second 3-under par, 69, tying his career low round at the collegiate level.
“Casper played extremely consistent today,” said FMU coach Mark Gaynor. “He got in a good place playing wise, had a nice pace on his putting, and gave himself the opportunity to shoot a sub-par number.”
Kennedy began his day on the back nine, tallying five birdies to get to 3-under par. Coming off another hot start he made the turn, the sophomore played mistake-free over his final nine holes, all pars. Kennedy led the team with eight birdies on the tournament, including playing the par-5 holes at 3-under par. The Tjome, Norway, native soared finished in a tie for fifth at 2-under par (73-69-142).
He was followed by senior John Burghardt (73-75-148) and McBee High School's Grant Sellers (71-77-148) who both finished the tournament at 4-over par, positioning them tied for 29th. Sophomore Mitchell Vance of Hartsville carded a round of 74 on Tuesday, 2-over par, to get him to 5-over par for the tournament and in a tie for 38th while junior Grainger Howle of Darlington shot 76 to finish tied for 60th at 153.
Junior McClure Thompson rounded out the Patriots at 16-over par (82-78—160) and tied for 80th position.
The Patriots shot 292 (+4) as a team Monday, a score that landed just 8-shots off the lead on a day where only three teams shot under par. Host Middle Tennessee State (284-289-573) and Louisiana Monroe (286-287-573) shared the team title, finishing at 3-under par, and two shots ahead of third-place Appalachian State. Coastal Carolina’s Tyler Gray (68-72-140), Louisiana Monroe’s Guillaume Fanonnel (72-68-140) and Mercer’s Jonathan Parker (68-72-140) shared medalist honors at 4-under par.
“As a team, we improved on our first-day effort in the standings and that’s what we were looking to do," Gaynor said. "College golf is extremely tough and we strive to improve one shot per player each round. The venue here was great and it was nice just to be back out on a course playing competitively. If you go back to last year, we recorded two rounds this week that were significantly better than we did in our 2019 opening event."
Up next, Francis Marion will head to Statesboro, Ga., for the Bash in the 'Boro, hosted by Georgia Southern on Oct. 19-20. The 54-hole event is the second and final tournament on the fall schedule.
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