Lions neutralize “Bear Trap” to sit in third after opening day at Division II Championships.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s golf team posted the best score of the afternoon waves at the NCAA Division II Championships in Monday’s first round and sat in third place early.
The Lions shot a 12-over par 300 for the day and are only five strokes behind Arkansas Tech in the first and one stroke behind Georgia Southwestern in second.
With the greens already running fast at the PGA National Champion Course, the Lions faced the task of taking the course on at its firmest, as they were in the final wave of tee times. They met the challenge with confidence and now carry a strong position into “Moving Day.”
The Lions were the second-best team in the field at the “Bear Trap,” the signature 15th, 16th, and 17th holes on the Jack Nicklaus design, shooting 5-over as a team for those three holes. Only Indianapolis did better in this stretch at 4-over. The Lion five also did a good job avoiding the big numbers, with five double bogeys spread throughout the round and no worse.
Nathan McCulloch (Edinburgh, Scotland) and Zach Burch (Lubbock – Cooper) tied for ninth place on the individual leaderboard at 2-over par 74. McCulloch ranks second in the field in par four scoring and had two birdies on the front nine, while Burch scattered three birdies throughout his round.
Tripp Wallace (Wolfforth Frenship) is in 19th place at 3-over par 75 with three birdies on his day, including a birdie on the par-3 17th hole in the “Bear Trap.”
Brody Blackmon (Sulphur Springs) is in 36th place at 5-over par 77 with four birdies, and Simon Haas (Lorch, Germany) is in 43rd place at 6-over par 78 with one of only four eagles in the entire field, as he sank a 40-foot putt on the 10th hole.
The Lions will look to capitalize on Monday’s performance in the second round, with weather and scoring conditions predicted to be optimal for their groups. A&M-Commerce is again paired with Central Missouri and Lee and will tee off beginning at 8:20 am CST.
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