Maryville College's Tyler Bray earned his third-consecutive USA South Rookie of the Week honor this week, as the freshman led the Scots to a seventh-place finish at the Royal Lakes Fall Invitational.
Bray turned in his third under-par tournament of the season, as the only tournament he did not finish better than par was the one-day event against Hiwassee College.
The Lutz, Fla. native is currently ranked as tied for 14th in the country statistically with a 71.5 scoring average. That score puts Bray as the second-lowest scoring freshman in the Division III nation, after carding a 143 and tying for ninth last weekend.
"Tyler has just played great," Head Coach Ron Waters said. "The thing is, he's still not playing his best golf, I don't think. Somebody asked me the other day what the strength of his game is. I told them that it's just that he plays golf. When he hits bad shots, he finds ways to recover. He doesn't hit bad shots that ruin his round. He always stays in and gives himself opportunities. I'm just really thrilled with the way he's played. He's been a big, big boost to our team, and I'm really proud of his efforts so far."
Bray helped MC improve seven spots in the final round of the tournament in Flowery Branch, Ga. while helping the Scots break the single-round scoring record for the second time this season.
Maryville carded a two-over 290 in the second round, breaking the 293 score they set in the Tom Kinder Memorial earlier in the season.
"It was totally different for us," Waters said. "I was talking to them on the way down there, and the first two events we played, we started off great. Then, we didn't play well the second day. Part of that was because our first day was really, really good. I told them that we needed to get to the point where we start off good and continue to get better. We didn't start as well this week, but we did play better in the end. It's not a pressure thing. That's what my concern was – in the pressure of the final day, can we handle that? We proved this week that we can."
The Scots' seventh-place finish broke the MC record for the Royal Lakes event, surpassing the 2015-16 and 2014-15 squad who finished 12th.
Maryville's two-day total of 591 also broke the Scots' record for the tournament, as the Orange and Garnet had a 23-stroke improvement over the previous record set last season.
For Bray, his second day improved over his first. The first-year Scot tallied an even-par 72 on day one, before improving day two with a one-under 71.
MC has played the tournament nine times, while the freshman's ninth-place finish is the best for a Scot at Royal Lakes, surpassing Zach Honea's 10th-place outing in 2011. He also shot the lowest score by a Maryville golfer in the tournament by two strokes.
"It's huge," Waters said. "What it amounts to is that you bring in a guy who, now, everybody knows he's going to shoot a good round pretty much every day. That takes a little pressure of some of the guys, and in some ways, it adds pressure. They feel like if someone is playing really well – as Tyler and some of the other guys have – Garrett Compliment played a really good round on Sunday – the other guys feel like they don't want to let them down. If Tyler is making birdies, and they are making bogies, that makes them feel bad about that. That makes them more focused and work harder. It's made everybody better."
Thus far this season, Maryville has finished top-10 in each of their tournaments, with their worst finish being an eighth-place outing in the Rhodes College Fall Classic.
The Scots will look to continue that trend, as they travel to Loudon, Tenn. on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 16-17. MC will take part in the Bojangles Tennessee Intercollegiate at the Tennessee National Golf Club.