Greensboro, N.C. – The Transylvania men's golf team began the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Golf National Championships with a resounding start on Tuesday morning at the Grandover Resort, shooting a nine-over-par team score of 297 to finish the day in the top-eight.
Junior Blake Young stood out for the Pioneers, turning in a two-under-par 70 to lead the way for Transylvania. Young currently stands in a tie for fourth place on the 216-player leaderboard after one round of play. The junior enjoyed a consistent day, finishing in blazing fashion on the back nine as he birdied three of his final five holes. Young delivered either birdies or pars on the final 13 holes of his first round.
"I'm happy with the way our guys played today but feel like we can perform even better as a team," commented Transylvania men's golf head coach Brian Lane after round one. "Blake leading the way was a big lift as the day went on. His calmly dropping a birdie on the 18th in front of a nice crowd and TV cameras was clutch."
Young was aided by consistent performances from his Pioneer teammates on Tuesday, including junior Jack Berger and senior Carson Wattenbarger, who each turned in identical scores of three-over par 75's. Wattenbarger's day was bolstered by a stretch of eight pars and one birdie on the front nine, while Berger produced two birdies on the day and parred nine of his final 11 holes.
"The thing that impressed me today was each guy had at least one stretch where they weren't playing their best, but they continued to grind it out for their teammates," continued Lane.
Having competed at Grandover already twice in the 2017-2018 season, the Pioneers enjoyed the familiar sights of the west course as they spent parts of the morning in the top-five on the team leaderboard as many of the top teams in the nation jostled for position.
The group of five was rounded out by junior Harrison Lane, who along with Berger, made his national-championship debut on Tuesday; Lane carded a five-over par 77, enhanced by a stretch of six pars on the back nine along with a birdie on 17. Sophomore Spencer McKinney turned in a seven-over par 79 to help the Pioneers complete a day marked by consistency and balance.
As one of the first teams to tee off in Tuesday's first of four rounds, the Pioneers hit the clubhouse with the first round fully completed. With inclement weather closing in on Greensboro, round one play was suspended at 4:25 p.m. Eastern time, leaving 18 teams with incomplete first rounds.
Wednesday's action will begin with the resumption of round one play for those 18 squads, followed by a second-round shotgun start for all 42 teams. Transylvania is forecasted to begin second-round play no earlier than 8:00 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.
"Tomorrow will be a first for us at the NCAA's with the shotgun start situation," commented Lane. "It is our third tournament at Grandover this year so I am hoping all the time and effort will pay off these next few days."
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