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Local golfer honored on Blue Carpet

Payne Denman

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Local golfer Payne Denman was among those honored last week at the Third Annual Raiders Choice Awards at MTSU. The event highlighted the academic and athletic accomplishments of the Blue Raider student-athletes in their first year of competition in Conference USA.
A Most Improved Player awards went to Denman, who is part of the MTSU men's golf team. Denman had a 73.7 average in 2014, as opposed to 75.1 a year ago. Denman was also recognized for a 3.0 last fall.
Middle Tennessee Head Golf Coach Whit Turnbow was also honored, taking the "Make a Difference Award" for his "True Blue Turnbow Project" in the winter. The "True Blue Turnbow Project" was a children's coat drive undertaken by Turnbow through social media that saw nearly 800 coats donated and thousands of dollars. Coach Turnbow also helped coordinate the original Raiders' Choice Awards, also referred to as RCA's.
In a related story, the MTSU Golf team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Regionals. Middle Tennessee will be one of 14 teams participating in the regional at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia, Mo., hosted by the University of Missouri May 15-17. The low five teams from six regionals will advance to the NCAA National Championships at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., May 23 - 28. Wichita State will serve as host. Each regional will be a 54-hole event.
Middle Tennessee's spot among the nation's top 81 teams came during the last announced regional by the Men's Golf Selection Committee's selection show on the Golf Channel's Morning Drive Show. The Blue Raiders will be the No. 10 seed in a field that includes No. 2 ranked Oklahoma State, No. 11 ranked Virginia, No. 14 ranked LSU, No. 24 ranked Arkansas, and 26th ranked Arizona State. MT was and eight seed in 2011 and 2012.
The Blue Raiders' lineup will be led by juniors Brett Patterson and Payne Denman. Patterson, who leads the team with a 73.0 stroke average, will be playing in his third NCAA Tournament while Denman is appearing for the first time as a Blue Raider. Jordan Jennings and Andrew Cho both played in the 2012 NCAA Regionals and will be making their second trip.

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