GREENSBORO, N.C. – Jimmy Keener and Chayne Kendall both shot two-under-par 70 to help Schreiner University take a one-stroke lead over Methodist University after Tuesday’s first round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championships at the Grandover Resort. The pair combined for nine birdies over 18 holes and sit in an eight-way tie for fifth place in the 210-man field.
Hampden-Sydney College’s Brian Burt, one of five individuals playing the 41-team event, fired a five-under-par 67 to hold a one-stroke edge over the University of Texas-Tyler’s Buddy Hallman. Burt combined five birdies with bogey-free golf to post the day’s low score. Hallman collected one of the day’s six eagles, but made one of two bogeys on his second-to-last hole of the day to slip one shot behind Burt.
Playing the par-72, 7,210-yard East Course on a warm and sunny day, Schreiner pounced quickly and was six strokes under after 12 holes. The Texas-based Mountain Lions posted their low round of the season (285) by six strokes. Matt McClung, one of six rookies named to the Golf Coaches’ Association of America All-Freshman Team Tuesday night, shot 71 in his NCAA Championships debut and shares 13th place. Schreiner’s Zach Oliver and Phillip Stewart both carded a 74.
The East Course played better than two shots harder than the par-72, 6,770-yard West Course on Tuesday. Methodist shot 286 on the West Course, sparked by Jeff Wells’ three-under 69. He sits two strokes off the individual lead and 10 places ahead of teammates Dakun Chang and Brian Hunzeker, who both shot 71. The Monarchs have won 10 NCAA Division III crowns, more than any team in the field.
Methodist’s USA South Athletic Conference rival, LaGrange College, holds third place after Tuesday’s two-over 290 on the West Course. Cory Howard’s two-under 70 paced the Panthers, who also got a 71 from Osborn Theam. Hallman’s 68 helped UT-Tyler to a share of fourth place with Hope College. Both the Patriots and Flying Dutchmen shot 291 Tuesday on the East Course.
Tournament host Guilford College opened with a 294 on the West Course. Junior Drew Thompson and rookie teammates Tanner Gross and Ty Palmer each shot 73 for the Quakers, good enough for 32nd among individuals. Senior Dallas Page checked in with a 75 and shares 62nd place, two strokes better than teammate Nick Shedd (77).
The teams will switch courses for Wednesday’s second round. After 36 holes, the low-15 teams and the low-five individuals not part of the low-15 teams advance to Thursday and Friday’s final rounds on the East Course.
Guilford College and the Greensboro Sports Commission serve as co-hosts of this year’s national championship, which is being held at Grandover for the second time in four years. UT-Tyler is the defending tournament champion after defeating Transylvania University by seven shots for the 2013 championship in Destin, Fla. Grandover will also host the championships in 2015 and 2018.