CHAUTAUQUA, NY — Familiar names sit atop the leaderboard after the opening round of the NJCAA Division III Golf Championships.
Georgia Military College, national champs in 2004 and 2017, and two-time winner Vincennes University (2013 and 2016) both finished Tuesday with a 318 team total, three shots in front of Minnesota State Community and Technical College in breezy, cool conditions on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club. "I told (assistant coach Stephen Shipes) about three-quarters of the way through the round that anything under 320 was going to be a good score," Georgia Military College coach Josh Miller said. "We were right."
Miller added: "We struggled coming in. We had a triple (bogey) and double (bogey) on the last hole. If it wouldn't been for that, it would have been OK."
Trey May had the low round for Georgia Military College, shooting a 3-over 75, Luke Ninneman and Tanner Casey each had a 79, and Niklas Frimodig and John James both had an 85. One of the 85s was thrown out.
"That's probably as bad as we could have played today, outside of Trey," Miller said.
While Vincennes University only had one player break 80, he did so in style. Zach Breault fired a 1-under 71 for medalist honors, which left his coach impressed. "I thought that was an exceptional round today, under the conditions," Dennis Chattin said. "And given the rest of the scores, it really was an exceptional round. You have to say with those numbers, we are disappointed with those other scores, but, obviously, no one else played it very well, so it tells you that it was tough out there today."
In addition to Breault's nifty round, Jacob English shot an 80, Keegan McCullough had an 82, Zack Hall recorded an 85 and Joe Allbright shot an 87, which was tossed out.
Two shots behind Breault on the individual leaderboard was Chris Kraft of Sandhills (North Carolina) CC, who shot a 73. Three players — Mason Landborg of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Chris McMorrow of Massasoit (Massachusetts) CC and May of Georgia Military College — are tied for third after a shooting 3-over 75.
"It played tough for everybody," Miller said. "The wind was up, it dried the greens out and they were really fast, but our guys fought. All I ask is maximum effort, positive attitude. We have a good group of guys. We're tied for the lead. You can't ask for much more than that." Georgia Military College has followed the same travel itinerary as it did last year, including eating at the Mayville Diner every morning.
"We've had a great trip," Miller said. "The guys are in a great mood. They know how hard it is out there. Everyone is smiling and happy now."
Georgia Military College 318
Vincennes University 318
Minnesota State CC 321
Sandhills CC 324
CC of Morris 326
Massasoit CC 327
Bucks County CC 333
SUNY Adirondack 335
Onondaga CC 336
Anne Arundel CC 344
Nassau CC 347
College of DuPage 357