Methodist University shot 19-over-par 299 Monday to take the first-round lead at the 21st annual Tom and Bettie O’Briant Memorial Golf Tournament at the Cardinal Golf and Country Club. Tournament host Guilford College sits three strokes off the pace at 302, followed by defending tournament champion Oglethorpe University (305), Rhodes College (308) and LaGrange College (309).
Methodist’s Matt Bova (71) and Josh Schrader (72) fired the day’s low rounds and hold the top spots on the 73-student leaderboard. Bova made a round-high 15 pars on a cool and windy day that produced an average score of 81.2. Schrader, who had 13 pars, shot 33 on the back nine. Rhodes’ Doug Gordon, fresh off a second-place finish at last week’s Royal Lakes/Oglethorpe Fall Invitational, continued his solid play with a 73 and sits third individually.
After Bova and Schrader, Methodist’s Tom Cooper and Liam Friedman both shot 78 and share 20th place. The Monarchs have won four of the last five O’Briant tourneys.
Guilford placed four students among the field’s top 12, led by freshman Jeff Boyan (High Point, N.C./Ledford), who carded a career-low 74. Teammate Burton Wood (Siler City, N.C./Jordan-Matthews) shot 75, one stroke better than the Quakers’ Dusty Roberts (Reidsville, N.C./Rockingham County) and two ahead of Peter Latimer (Markinch, Scotland/Madras).
This year’s event features seven of NCAA Division III’s top-25 teams, according to the Oct. 16 Golf World/NIKE Golf Division III Coaches poll, including three of the top-six squads. Ten of Division III’s last 15 national champions are also in the field. Second-ranked Methodist, fourth-ranked Oglethorpe and sixth-ranked Guilford make this one of Division III’s top fall tournaments. Rhodes is the nation’s 11th-ranked team in the poll.
The teams are competing on the par-70, 6,944-yard layout in northwest Greensboro. The event has returned to the renovated Cardinal Golf and Country Club following two years at the Greensboro Country Club. Guilford first hosted the tournament from 1978-87 when it was called the Guilford College Invitational.