CONOVER, N.C. — Newberry sits in 15th position after the first round of the 2018 NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional on Monday.
The Wolves, ranked seventh nationally in the latest coaches’ poll and eighth by Golfstat, finished with a season-high 302 at 18 strokes over par. Newberry is eight strokes behind seventh-place Rollins, which finished the day at 10 over par. The top seven finishers after 54 holes will advance to the 2018 NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships.
Newberry and the other 19 teams in attendance are all chasing top-ranked West Florida. The Argonauts were the only team to finish the day under par, firing a first-round 282 to end the day two strokes under.
Lynn, last year’s national runners-up, was even, with Barry in third place at three over and Lander eight over in fourth. Florida Southern and Columbus State both finished at nine over to tie for fifth.
The tightly-bunched field features seven schools that finished between eight and 12 strokes over par and 12 teams that are within 11 strokes of the all-important seventh position on the leaderboard.
Ben Thompson was Newberry’s top performer, going one-under with three birdies on the back nine to finish with a three-over 74 on the 6,940-yard layout. He ended his day in a 15-way tie for 35th, one stroke ahead of Carlos Leandro.
Jean van Niekerk, playing in just his third tournament of the season, shot the second-best round of his career with a five-over 76 to finish in a tie for 60th. Harry Bolton was six-over and tied for 75th, with Spencer Skiff finishing at eight-over in a tie for 89th.
Lynn’s Manuel Torres had seven birdies on the day to finish at four under. He shares the lead with the South Atlantic Conference’s individual medalist, Tom Forster of Carson-Newman, who birdied four of the last five holes and was five under on the back nine. The pair is one shot ahead of West Florida’s Chandler Blanchet, last year’s individual national champion.