Eagles battle through rain to grab lead on day one of SAC Championships

SALISBURY, N.C. – Led by the trio of Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.), Anthony Marcinelli (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Dalton Reese (Warrenton, Ga.), all of whom sit in the top 10, the Carson-Newman men's golf team owns sole possession of first place following day one of the South Atlantic Conference Championships, which took place on Sunday at the Country Club of Salisbury in Salisbury, N.C.

Due to constant rain in the Tar Heel State, the first round of the tournament was not completed and action will resume on Monday morning with a number of players completing their initial run on the links. The Eagles own a lead of four strokes over Queens (N.C.) and Newberry, but C-N was also one of three teams, along with the Wolves and Lincoln Memorial, that were unable to complete the opening round. In fourth place is Coker, six shots back and LMU is 11 shots off the pace in fifth.

"It rained all day, but the kids played their tails off," coach Randy Wylie said. "Obviously, there is still a lot of golf to played, but I'm glad we're in first."

Marcinelli's day started with a birdie, but that was immediately followed by two bogeys. After that, however, the sophomore was on point. He didn't exceed par on any of the remaining 15 holes and added birdies on the eighth and the 18th to enter the clubhouse with a one-under 71, matching his best score of the season and putting him in a tie for 3rd.

One of five players even with Marcinelli is Headrick, who was not able to get past the 15th before play was suspended. The sophomore began well, with four pars followed by a birdie on the fifth, but two consecutive scores of one-over put him in the black. From there, he found the form that made him a second-team All-SAC selection during the regular season, parring the next seven and using an eagle on the 15th to finish the day in the red.

Despite some ups and downs, Reese found himself sharing ninth when he was forced to head in, which came after he finished on the 17th. He made up for bogeys on the second, sixth and ninth holes by birdieing the third, 10th and 11th. He also made par on the last five holes to finish at even before play was suspended.

Tom Forster (Oundle, England) was also unable to complete the first round. He owns a two-over 62 with three more greens remaining in his initial foray into conference play. The freshman was on a run of six pars in-a-row before the players were forced off the course. On the front nine, the first-team All-SAC selection collected three bogeys and a par. His score has him tied for 15th.

Playing in his first conference championship tournament, Brady Childers (Granite Falls, N.C.) had a difficult day. He birdied the second, but was four-over at the turn. After a par streak of five-in-a-row, three more bogeys followed by a triple on 18 put him 10-over at day's end. Childers will enter day two tied for 52nd.

Tied atop the individual leaderboard are Gilberto Pena and Cameron Dugger with marks of two-under. They are just a single shot ahead of Headrick, Marcinelli, Wanjoo Lee and Ethan Cairns of Coker, Carlos Leandro of Newberry and Oskar Lundgren from Brevard.

Play on Monday is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. with the completion of the first round and the second round is set for a 9:30 a.m. start, weather permitting. Once action concludes, visit cneagles.com for a recap and results.