HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – Methodist University shot four-over-par 292 to lead after Sunday’s opening round of the Gordin Classic-NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Preview Tournament at Mission Inn Resort. Guilford College shot 303 Sunday and sits 11 strokes off the pace in eighth place.
Named for former Ohio Wesleyan University golf coach Dick Gordin, the 18-team tournament features most of the top finishers from last year’s NCAA Division III Championships in Greensboro, as well as other top-ranked teams. The Mission Inn Resort hosts the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships in May.
Greensboro College’s Ben Nihart blistered the par-72, 6954-yard Las Colinas Course Sunday with a five-under 67 to lead the 92-man field. He has a four-stroke edge over Methodist’s Mike Duncan and St. John’s (Minn.) University’s Dennis Granath, both of whom fired 71. Guilford’s Noah Ratner is among seven students tied for fourth place after shooting even-par 72.
Defending national runner-up Illinois Wesleyan University had Stefan Johnson and Kenny Wienckowski both fired 72, which helped the Titans shoot 295 as a team and hold second place. Christopher Newport University is third at 297, two shots ahead of Transylvania University and Greensboro, the defending NCAA Division III champion.
Guilford freshman Mitch Robinette (Charlotte, N.C./Grace Academy) shot 76 in his college debut, the Quakers’ second-lowest round of the day. He sits tied for 32nd place, one stroke better than teammate Mat Hennick, who shot 77. Hennick was four-over through five holes but rallied to shoot one-over for the remaining 13 holes. Fellow senior Dusty Roberts (Reidsville, N.C./Rockingham County) shot 78 and junior J.T. Thomas (Raleigh, N.C./Broughton) 79.
The teams will play the tourney’s remaining 36 holes Monday and Tuesday on the El Campeon Course. Guilford tees off Monday at 8:30 a.m. Fans can follow the action via Quakers’ head coach Corey Maggard’s Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/gccoachmaggard