Sapphire, N.C. - Western Carolina has three men's golfers ranked inside the individual top 10 overall including co-leaders in juniors Jackson Bishop and Dylan MacQueen to lead its home tournament, the Hummingbird Intercollegiate, being contested at the beautiful par-71, 6,767-yard Country Club of Sapphire Valley (CCSV). Teams played under perfect conditions with sunny skies and unseasonably mild conditions, surrounded by the hues of autumn on the mountain valley course.
The Catamounts tied the program's second-best, 18-hole round collectively on Monday, shooting 6-under par, 278, to grab a strong 12-stroke lead over second-place Eastern Kentucky. WCU also shot 278 at the CCSV back in 2007. Elon and High Point are just two strokes behind the runner-up position in a tie for third at 292, with mountain-foe Brevard College rounding out the top five.
USC Beaufort posted a team score of 300 to sit sixth, with Austin Peay (303), Cardinal Stritch (304) and Southern Wesleyan (309) rounding out the top nine teams.
Bishop matched his career-low round while MacQueen established benchmark by carding matching scores of 4-under par, 67. MacQueen carded a tournament-leading seven birdies on Monday while Bishop was steady with 12 pars and five birdies over the first round. Brevard College's Steffen Heckele sits two-strokes off the pace in third after shooting 1-under par, 70.
Bishop balanced a bogey on the par-4 fourth with two birdies on the par-4 fifth and par-4 8th to make the turn to the back nine at 1-under par. He finished off the round with three birdies and six pars on the back nine to match his career-low round.
MacQueen opened with four birdies on the front nine, making the turn at 4-under par before charting a bogie on the par-4 10th. On the back nine, the Woodstock, Ontario, native countered back-to-back bogies with three birdies to move to 5-under before a bogey on the par-3 16th finished his round at 4-under par.
Bishop and MacQueen were joined in the individual top 10 by sophomore Mark David Johnson who shot even-par, 71, on Monday. The St. Simons Island, Ga., native sits in a five-way tie for sixth overall entering the final round.
Also for the Catamounts, sophomore Lawson King is just outside the top 10 in a tie for 15th overall after carding a first-round score of 2-over par, 73, while junior Bright Julamool is tied for 31st at 76.
The final round of the Hummingbird Intercollegiate is scheduled for Tuesday morning with tee times off both the front and back nine beginning at 9:30 am with 10-minute increments. WCU will again be paired with golfers from EKU and Elon, teeing off at 10:20 am. The two Catamount individuals will tee-off on the back nine at 10:05 and 10:15 am, respectively.