Skyhawk golf claims OVC championship

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – It came down to the final hole and final pairing of both matches on the final day of the 2022 Ohio Valley Conference Championships at Dalhousie Golf Club as the University of Tennessee at Martin pulled through in a pair of 3-2 decisions for its second consecutive league title.

The Skyhawks’ fifth tournament victory of the season did not come easy but just as it has all season, UT Martin relied on the strong depth. Each of the five members of the Skyhawk lineup scored a victory today over the two matches.

With that said, it was the clutch play of senior Tate Chumley that helped carry UT Martin across the finish line. Having been crowned as an OVC All-Tournament selection on Tuesday, Chumley saved his best heroics for last today. With the semifinal matchup against Morehead State even at 2-all, the Murfreesboro, Tenn. native produced back-to-back birdies to wrap up the round, outlasting 2022 OVC Championships medalist Joe Muschong in an instant classic to send the Skyhawks into the championship showdown against top-seeded Tennessee Tech.

The title match was once again knotted at 2-2 as Chumley held off a ferocious rally from Nick Sutton. Chumley was 3-up through 14 holes but Sutton charged back to win Holes No. 16 and No. 17, applying pressure to the UT Martin senior. With a potential playoff looming, Chumley calmly smoked a picture-perfect drive right down the middle of the fairway and reached the green in two shots on the par-5, 523-yard hole. After Sutton holed out on a chip shot from 20 yards off the green, Chumley needed a three-putt to clinch the title for the Skyhawks. He rolled his second putt to within a foot of the cup and the hole was conceded, handing UT Martin its third OVC golf championship in school history (also winning in 2016 and 2021).

“We knew these would be two tough teams we were playing today – it was a battle all day long,” second-year Skyhawk head coach Austin Swafford said. “I’m so proud of our guys – they competed every hole for 36 holes after a long week of stroke play. For Tate to come out and play the way he did today in both matches – not only for himself but for the team – it was just so special to watch and be a part of. Our message all year has been to play for one another – play for UT Martin – and whatever you want to accomplish individually will take care of itself. I can’t put this feeling into words.”

Against No. 3 seed Morehead State, Jacob Uehlein produced the most commanding victory – defeating his counterpart by a 4&3 margin. Garrett Chumley also added a 1-up victory before Tate Chumley’s 1-up thriller sent the Skyhawks one step closer to a conference championship.

UT Martin then capped off its successful week with the triumph over Tennessee Tech, who had won the 54-hole stroke play portion of the event by five shots. Bryson Morrell and Jonathan Xoinis each carded sizeable 5&4 victories before Tate Chumley sealed the win on the final hole.

The NCAA Regionals on May 16-18 are next on tap for the Skyhawks, who will be assigned to one of six locations: Bryan, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; New Haven, Conn.; Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Stockton, Calif. or Tuscaloosa, Ala. A watch party to celebrate the 2022 OVC champion UT Martin squad will take place on Wednesday, May 4 at the Champion’s Club level of the Hardy Graham Stadium pressbox. The NCAA Regionals field will be revealed live on the Golf Channel at 3 p.m. as further details for the watch party will be made available at a later date.


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