GREENSBORO, N.C. – Huntingdon College's Will Thrash fired a five-under-par 66 and teammate Addison Lambeth shot 67 Monday in the Hawks' opening-round 277 at the O'Briant-Jensen Memorial Golf Tournament. Huntingdon, ranked first in the latest Golfstat.com NCAA Division III Head-to-Head Ratings, holds a 13-stroke lead over fourth-ranked Wittenberg University in the 15-team field. The Hawks and Tigers are ranked first and second in the current Bushnell Golfweek Division III Coaches' Poll.
Seventh-ranked Methodist University is third after Monday's 291, one stroke in front of tournament host Guilford College (292) and two shots ahead of 11th-ranked Greensboro College (293).
Under sunny skies with temperatures near 80, Thrash drained one of two eagles and a round-high seven birdies on the par-71, 6,763-yard Sedgefield Golf Club Dye Course. He opened with an eagle three on the 10th hole. A triple bogey six on the par-three 12th hole moved him to one over and a bogey on 13 put him two over. He heated up at the turn with birdies on 17 and 18 to get back even. The shots started a run of six birdies over seven holes that dropped him to four-under. Thrash, who won the DIII Preview Tournament, last month in Florida, birdied the par-four ninth hole to complete the best round in the tournament since Noah Ratner '13 shot 65 in 2011.
Lambeth, the reigning NCAA Division III Player of the Year and O'Briant-Memorial medalist, picked up where he left off in 2015 when he won the event by six strokes over Wittenberg's Garrett Brickley. Lambeth, who played scholastically at High Point Wesleyan and collegiately at Appalachian State University, made five birdies Monday. He was five-under until scoring his lone bogey on the ninth hole, his last of the round. Lambeth is the top-rated golfer in NCAA Division III, according to the latest Golfstat.com Head-to-Head Ratings.
Rookie Zachary Evens paced Guilford's performance with a three-under 68. He sits in third place in the 81-man field. Teammate Ty Palmer carded his low round of the spring with an even-par 71. Kendall Dunn (76) and Josh Hill (77) provided the Quakers' other two scores. Harrison Frye shot 78.
Kell Graham shot 71 to pace the four students on Guilford's 'B' team, which is tied for eighth place after shooting 307.
The O'Briant-Jensen has been played annually since 1978 at the course formerly known as the Cardinal. It was initially named for longtime Guilford golf supporters and Cardinal members Tom and Bettie O'Briant, but adopted its current title in 2010 after the passing of longtime Quakers' golf and basketball coach Jack Jensen. The tourney typically attracts some of NCAA Division III's top teams and 2016 is no exception. Five schools are ranked among the top 20 by Golfstat. Six competitors are ranked in the coaches' poll.
The tournament concludes with 18 holes Tuesday.