April 15, 2012
Charleston, S.C. - With two golfers inside the top 20 on the individual leader board, Western Carolina concluded its opening round in 10th place (306) collectively at the 2012 Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship at the Ralston Creek Course on Daniel Island, S.C. Defending team champion, Georgia Southern, holes a one-stroke lead after 18 holes while Chattanooga senior Stephen Jaeger posted a six-under par, 66, to lead the event.
Paired with golfers from UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina's scoring five hits the course for round two in the first tee-times on the front nine Monday morning beginning at 8:00 am through 8:40 am. The final pairing hits the links beginning at 11:10 am.
Junior Steven Smith paced the Catamounts through the opening round with a one-over par, 73, in a five-way tie for 13th. Smith made the turn at one-under par after countering a bogey on his opening hole with a pair of birdies on the par-5 third and par-4 seventh. However, two bogies on his otherwise even back nine relegated him to two-over on the side and one-over for the round.
Playing in his second-ever SoCon Championship, sophomore Greg Bunner fired a two-over, 75, to sit amidst an eight-way tie for 18th on the ledger. The Gastonia, N.C., native birdied two of his first three holes before back-to-back bogies on the par-5 sixth and par-4 seventh moved him back to even. He added two additional birdies on the eighth and 11th holes to drop back to two-under before closing the round with bogies on four of his final seven holes.
Rounding out WCU's side was junior Trey White in a tie for 43rd at seven-over, 79, with freshman J.T. Poston tied for 49th at 80 and sophomore Jack Walsh in 52nd-place overall at 81. Poston and White both finished with six holes over par while Walsh countered eight over-par scoring holes with one birdie.
Jaeger, the 2010 and 2011 SoCon Golfer of the Year, blistered the course with eight birdies, including six on the back nine. The senior shot 30 on the back nine while carding a birdie of five of the final six holes. A pair of seniors in Appalachian State's Darren Cook and Henry Smart from the College of Charleston reside in second on the leader board behind Jaeger following two-under par rounds of 70.
In the team competition, Georgia Southern used a balanced team effort to stake claim to first place on day one. Four Eagles shot 74 of better on the day, led by senior Lewis Gruber. Gruber, last year's runner-up in the event, is tied for fourth after shooting 71 (-1).
The Eagles' margin over second-place Wofford is just one, as the Terriers are at three-over par after shooting 293. Brent Whitehead's 71 (-1) paced Wofford. Samford shot 293 (+5) on Sunday and will join Georgia Southern and Wofford in Monday's final grouping which tees off at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Chattanooga (294) sits in the fourth position, followed by Furman (295) and College of Charleston (295) which are tied for fifth. Elon (297) and Appalachian State (300) are the seventh and eighth spots, respectively, while Davidson (305), Western Carolina (306) and UNCG (308) round out the leader board.
Round two of the championship will begin Monday morning at 8:00 am ET with results updated every three holes at www.golfstatresults.com. The 54-hole championship will conclude on Tuesday.