HOWEY-in-the-HILLS, Fla. -- Guilford College's men's golf team shot 12-over-par 300 Tuesday and shares ninth place behind leader Oglethorpe University (285) after the first of four rounds at the 41-team NCAA Division III Golf Championships at the Mission Inn Resort and Club.
The Quakers share ninth place with the University of Texas-Tyler after both teams carded the day's low round on the par-72, 6,926-yard El Campeon Course. Oglethorpe and the other top eight squads all played the par-72, 6,895-yard Las Colinas Course Tuesday. Six schools ranked among the top eight in the latest Golfstat.com NCAA Division III Relative Rankings played Las Colinas. The teams will switch courses Wednesday and the schools with the low 15 scores, plus five individuals from teams outside the top 15, advance to the tourney's third and fourth rounds.
The opening round was played in warm conditions with temperatures in the upper 80s before late-afternoon thunderstorms moved in and delayed some of the last teams on the course.
Three Guilford students stand among the top-60 competitors after 18 holes. Freshman Drew Thompson shot one-over-par 73 and shares 20th place among the 210 individual competitors. Thompson totaled five birdies on the day, including three in the first seven holes. Classmate Mitch Robinette bogeyed the second and third holes, but played the rest of the course even par. He finished with a two-over 74 and ranks 30th individually. Senior Dusty Roberts made the turn at four over, but made two birdies and the back nine even for a 76 that ranks 57th. Rookie Nick Shedd, playing in his third varsity tournament, got off to a great start with birdies on the second and third holes, but was seven-over for the remaining 15 holes and carded the Quakers' fourth score, a 77, and shares 77th place. Guilford junior Noah Ratner played the back nine at one-over and shot 40 (+5) on the front nine. He sits tied for 83rd at 78.
"I'm pleased with today," said Guilford coach Corey Maggard. "We have three freshmen this year at their first national championship. (Robinette) started with 2 bogeys on his first three and then made 15 pars after that. Another one of our freshmen (Andrew Thompson) led the squad today with a 73. We'll need to go low tomorrow on Colinas to give ourselves a chance."
Oglethorpe's Anthony Maccaglia and Claremont Mudd Scripps Colleges' Brad Shigezawa share the individual lead with a four-under 68, both scored on El Campeon Course. Top-ranked Methodist University sits fourth in the team standings (291) thanks to Mike Wesko and Andrew Bateman, who both shot 70. Brian Jaeger of Christopher Newport University also shot 70 to help the Captains (289) to a share of second place with Claremont Mudd Scripps (289).
The championship continues with Wednesday's second round and ends Friday. Guilford tees off at 11:10 a.m. on the Las Colinas Course.
Guilford is ranked third in the April 25 Golf World/NIKE Golf Division III Coaches Poll and bidding for its third NCAA golf title. The Quakers won the 2005 NCAA Division III title at the Mission Inn Resort and the 2002 crown in Lincoln, Neb.