Site: Florence, S.C.
Course: Country Club of South Carolina (Par 72, 7,062 yards)
Tournament: Raines Development Intercollegiate
HPU Team Standing: 2nd of 10 teams (281-275-556, -20)
Top HPU Individual: Brandon Einstein, 1st (68-67-135, -9)
Next HPU Round: Sunday, Feb. 7 — at Raines Development Intercollegiate (Florence, S.C.)
FLORENCE, S.C. – Redshirt sophomore Brandon Einstein is the leader in the clubhouse and the High Point University men’s golf team sits two shots behind Middle Tennessee State for the lead after 36 holes on Saturday (Feb. 6) at the Raines Development Intercollegiate in Florence, S.C.
Einstein’s to-par score of -9 after the first two rounds is tied for the best 36 holes relative to par with Tommy Moore from the 1996-97 season, while his total strokes of 135 are the third-fewest a Panther has taken in two rounds.
Three other Panthers joined Einstein in the top-15 after day one, with freshman Grady Newton sitting four strokes behind him in ninth place. Redshirt sophomores Adam Hooker and Drew Weary join them in the top-15, ending the day in a share of 14th place at three-under.
The team’s score of 275 to go 13-under in the second round set program records for both total strokes and score to-par, while the 281 from the morning round is tied for the eighth-best round as a team and is the lowest opening-round of a tournament HPU has played in. Combined, the 556 strokes through 36 holes are the fewest High Point has taken in two rounds by six strokes and sitting at -20 heading into the final round is far and away the best position the Purple and White have been in to finish a 54-hole event in team history.
“What a day out there,” head coach Brady Gregor said after his team’s performance. I couldn’t be prouder of how the guys have responded since the last event. Even with playing very solid in these first two rounds, every player learned something today and we got better overall. It was a special day out there and tomorrow we have the opportunity to make it a special tournament. We’re in a shootout, so get ready back at home to be hitting that refresh button every few holes on Golfstat!”
Einstein stayed near the top of the pack from his first hole, ending round one tied for second at four-under thanks to a bogey-free 68. He started both rounds on the par-5 second and made his first move of the morning with a birdie on the par-5 sixth. He put together five more pars in a row before carding back-to-back birdies to get to three-under on 12 and 13 before picking up his fourth and final birdie of round one on the par-5 17th.
The Clemmons, N.C. native wasted no time getting into the red numbers in the afternoon, starting his second round with birdies on two and three to get to six-under on the day. Once again, he strung together a streak of five pars before picking up a birdie on the ninth and another on the par-5 11th to record a birdie on all four par-5s during the day. His only blemish in day one came from a bogey on 16, but he quickly made up for it with a birdie on 17 and then carded his sixth birdie of the round on his final hole to move him into sole possession of the lead after 36 holes.
Newton had a bit of a tougher start to his day than Einstein, bogeying his second hole of round one. He rebounded with a birdie on the sixth but gave the stroke right back with another bogey on seven. The freshman made the turn in the morning at one-over and had a strong final nine holes of the round, picking up birdies on 13, 17, and his final hole (hole two) to head into lunch at two-under with a 70.
He improved on that by one stroke in the afternoon, starting with his second birdie of the day on hole six before picking up two more on holes nine and 10. Newton dropped a shot at the par-5 11th with his only bogey of the second round but birdied the other par-5 on the back to end the round with a 69 and get him to five-under for the tournament.
Weary and Hooker each ended the day two shots behind Newton and six behind Einstein at three-under. Hooker shot under par in both rounds, firing a 71 in the morning and a 70 in the afternoon. Starting on hole three, he parred his first five before bogeying the eighth and then birdied the ninth to get him back to even. Hooker birdied 15 to get under par for the first time on the day but gave the shot back with a six on the par-5 17th; however, he was able to end his round in the red thanks to a birdie on the par-5 second before returning for the afternoon’s round.
It took until the eighth hole after lunch for Hooker to record something other than par, but this time it was a birdie for the Lebanon, Va. product. He bogeyed the other par-5 on the back this time to return to even in the round but birdied 15 and then one to finish with a 70 in the afternoon for two rounds under par on the opening day of the event.
Weary had a stronger showing after lunch than Hooker did but shot even par in the morning. He had a strong start with a birdie on his first hole (hole three) but carded a double bogey on the par-3 seventh. Weary was able to get back to even par shortly after with a birdie on nine and then got back in the red numbers with another on 11. He picked up his fourth birdie of the round with one on the par-3 16th. The final four holes of the morning round weren’t as kind, as he racked up back-to-back bogeys on 18 and one.
The afternoon was a much smoother round for Weary as he was two-under in the round after his first four holes. He picked up another birdie on the 10th and then carded one on 15 before bogeying the 18th for the second round in a row to drop back to three-under in round two and the tournament.
Graduate student Alec Weary and redshirt junior Ryan McCarthy were also in action for the Panthers, with both finishing the second round at one-over. Alec picked up four birdies in a span of six holes on the front before running into some bogey trouble late in the round while McCarthy also had a strong start after lunch – birdieing three of his first five in the second round. The elder Weary brother was able to overcome a double on his first hole in the morning to shoot even par in round one to finish the day at one-over while McCarthy was three-over in round one to enter day two at four-over.
Einstein has a one-shot lead over Connor Coffee from Kennesaw State heading into the final round while Middle Tennessee State takes a two-stroke advantage of the Panthers into Sunday thanks to a pair of golfers in the top-five.
Round three will see the teams start off holes one and 10 on Sunday morning (Feb. 7), with the Panthers going second-to-last off hole one at 9:30 and 9:40 am. The players will stay in the same threesomes they played in throughout the first two rounds, with Drew Weary, Newton, and Hooker teeing off in the first group, followed by Alec Weary, McCarthy, and Einstein.