MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Despite difficulties found in the back-nine of the course at the Duran Golf Club, No. 20 Carson-Newman concluded the first day of the Panther Invitational with a fourth-place spot on the leaderboard, shooting a team total score of 296.
The Eagles' five-man team was eight-over par through the first 18 holes. They were also tied for second on Par 3 scoring holes with a 3.15 clip and Par 4 scoring at +11 on such holes with a 4.22 average. They shot the second-most birdies in the 10-team field with 14.
Tom Forster (Oundle, England) was the lowest scoring Eagle in the first round with a -2 round of 70, his third-lowest opening round score of the season. The sophomore's four birdies and a pair of bogeys were enough to place him in a tie for third on the leaderboard with consistent one-under showings through the front and back-nine.
He also tied for the second-most birdies on the first day.
"Tom had a brilliant first round on a tough windy day," head coach Randy Wylie said.
Anthony Marcinelli (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Alex Hutson (Newport, Tenn.) both recorded +3 scores of 75 in the first round to land at a tie for 13th. Marcinelli was on par for a majority of the first nine holes despite the two bogeys he shot with the birdie before recording a +2 score in the back nine.
Hutson had the most success in the first half of the course compared to the rest of his teammates, scoring two-under with a duo of birdies before finding difficulty in the back-nine, shooting for bogey thrice before recording a double bogey on the 18th hole. He found himself in a four-place tie for best Par 3 shooting among player with a 2.75 average at one-under.
Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.) was four over par on Sunday with a 76 first day total for a tie at 19th. This marks the second time this season the junior has opened a tournament with a 76 score, his highest first-round score of the 2017-18 campaign and his second-highest round score on the year. The junior was three-over in the first-nine before shaving two strokes off his score through the second half of the course despite shooting a double bogey on hole 15.
Jackson Tyler (Wilmington, N.C.) had a promising journey through the first nine holes with a one-over showing but faced a steep turnaround in the back-nine, shooting eight shots higher to place him at 10-over in the first round to sit tied for 46th on Sunday. He shot a total of two birdies with seven bogeys, a double bogey and was three-over on his final hole of the day. The freshman's score of 82 marks his highest round score of the season.
Participating as an individual, Grant Bodie (Knoxville, Tenn.) opened his time at the tournament with a +12 score of 84, his highest round score of the season. The junior was four-over in the first half before doubling his score in the back half where eight of his 10 first round bogeys were found. He concluded Sunday at a tie for 56th in the field.
"The final three holes on the course are extremely challenging and we struggled to finish our rounds," Wylie said. "Today was a solid performance to start the tournament and the guys are enjoying playing against the best teams in the country. We need to keep grinding tomorrow and then finish."
All four of Golfstat's ranked teams finished at the top of the leaderboard through the first 18 holes.
Second-ranked Florida Southern was the top team through the first round with a three-under team score of 285. Four strokes behind the Mocs was No. 10 Barry at second-place while No. 5 Florida Tech was third with a +7 score of 295.
On the player leaderboard, Florida Southern's John Coultas was the top in the field on Sunday with a four-under score of 68. Host team Florida Tech's Max O'Hagan was the second-best player at three-under while a tie at third for two-under was held by Florida Southern's John VanDerLaan and C-N's Forster.