Oct. 27, 2013
Kiawah Island, S.C. - Western Carolina junior J.T. Poston carded seven birdies as a part of firing an opening-round, five-under par, 67, on Sunday afternoon to lead the 78-golfer field at The Invitational at the Ocean Course, hosted by the College of Charleston. The Catamounts shot 304 collectively as a team to sit in ninth place overall, just seven strokes outside of the Top Five.
Paired with golfers from Southern Conference-foe, Georgia Southern, and Notre Dame, WCU's scoring five has tee times on the front nine beginning at 7:50 am on Monday morning in the tournament's second round. Poston rounds out the Catamount quintet, on the par-72, 7,080-yard course beginning at 8:30 am.
Poston opened his round with three-straight birdies, adding a fourth on the par-4 sixth to sit at four-under a third of the way through his first 18 holes. Back-to-back bogies surrounding his turn on the par-4 ninth and par-4 10th left him at two-under par for the round. The Hickory, N.C., native closed, however, with three birdies over his final eight holes, moving to a tournament-low five-under on the par-5 16th before shooting par on the final two holes of the day.
Behind Poston, sophomore Tyler Lail sits tied for 39th overall. After opening with five-consecutive pars, Lail stumbled with a double-bogey on the par-4, 407-yard sixth followed by three-consecutive bogies to make the turn at five-over. The Conover, N.C., product played even on the back nine, countering a pair of bogies with two birdies to shoot five-over, 77.
Senior Jack Walsh is tied for 54th after the first round, shooting seven-over, 79, with freshmen Evan Smith (81, tied for 66th) and Nont Panayanggool (84, tied for 74th) rounding out the Catamounts' scoring side. Walsh countered seven holes over par with a birdie on the par-4, 15th with Smith also charting his lone birdie on No. 15. Panayanggool had a busy scorecard, combating 10 holes of bogey-or-worse with four birdies - the second-most on the squad on the opening day.
Poston holds a one-stroke edge over second-place Tyler Wingo from Notre Dame who shot four-under par, 68. The two will be paired with Georgia Southern's top golfer, Scott Wolfes - who is tied for 20th in the standings - on day two. South Florida's Richard James sits third, two strokes in arrears and just ahead of a three-way tie for fourth place.
On the team leader board, No. 39 Kentucky posted an even-par team round of 288 to lead No. 17 South Florida by three strokes after the Bulls shot 291 on Sunday. South Alabama is third at 294 with Charleston Southern and No. 8 Georgia tied for fourth, nine strokes back at 297.