By Ali Lee, with files from NAIA Communications
Following the opening day of the four-round NAIA men’s golf National Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla., the University of Victoria Vikes men’s golf team are tied for 25th. The tournament runs from May 19-22 and includes a field of 155 players spread amongst 29 teams.
Vikes rookie Mike Griffin was the team’s top player carding a 75 in round one, while Alex Cartwright was the only other Vike to shoot below 80, finishing the day with a 79 on the par-72 LPGA International Hills Course.
“It was a tough first day and I felt we had a good opportunity to score well considering we had an early draw with conditions very scoreable on the course,” said Vikes head coach Justin Clews, whose team carded a total score of 315. “Most of the guys had a tough start and couldn’t really re-group and get it back. The course has small greens so iron play is very important. Unfortunately none of our players were hitting the greens in regulation and as a result saw few birdie opportunities.”
Rounding it out for the Vikes squad was Matthew Broughton who shot 80 to tie for 121st, rookie Lawren Rowe with 81 and Andrew Funk with 85.
“We had a good two-hour practice session after our round where we addressed a lot of the areas that need attention,” added Clews. “We tee off later tomorrow, at noon Eastern time, and there may be isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. Hopefully we get our full round and in and I am confident we will bounce back tomorrow and move up the leaderboard.”
Defending champion Coastal Georgia picked up where it left off a year ago, carding a team score of 6-under-par 282 to take a share of the lead after day one of the 2015 NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships.
The top-ranked Mariners had four players shoot 74 or better on the Hills Course at LPGA International, with senior Alastair Tidcombe leading the way with a 7-under-par 65 to top the leaderboard. Tidcombe is one shot clear of William Woods sophomore Matt Wells, who fired a 6-under 66 to lead the Owls to a share of the lead.
Both teams atop the standings teed off early and were able to take advantage of calmer conditions. The scoring average during the morning wave of tee times was 75.96, compared with 76.76 in the afternoon wave.
Wayland Baptist (Texas) was the only team that managed to break par in the afternoon, coming in at 1-under 287 to sit five shots off the lead. Texas Wesleyan finished at even-par 288, while Oklahoma City is fifth at 289 with three teams tied for sixth at 294 and three tied for ninth at 295.
The second round gets underway at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday with Wayland Baptist (Texas), Tennessee Wesleyan and Northwestern (Iowa) teeing off No. 10. USC Beaufort (S.C.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and Jamestown (N.D.) will lead the morning wave off the first tee at 7:50 a.m.
The afternoon wave begins with Coastal Georgia, Victoria (B.C.) and Marian (Ind.) going off the 10th tee at noon followed by individuals Zach Day of Mobile (Ala.), Kade Crossland of Corban (Ore.) and Daniel Thompsett of Rocky Mountain (Mont.) off the first tee at 12:30 p.m
VIKES ROUND 1 RESULTS
T-25 Victoria (315)
T-61 Mike Griffin (75)
T-111 Alex Cartwright (79)
T-121 Matthew Broughton (80)
T-133 Lawren Rowe (81)
T-151 Andrew Funk (85)