DADE CITY, Fla. – A five-over first day highlighted by a four-under performance by Tom Forster (Oundle, England) landed Carson-Newman at fifth-place to open the Saint Leo Invitational on Monday at the Lake Jovita Country Club.
"Practicing in the rain and mud probably didn't have us as sharp as we needed to be today," Carson-Newman coach Randy Wylie said. "Hopefully we will finish strong tomorrow."
The Eagles as a team were two-over in the first round of the tournament with a 290, good enough for second-place heading into the afternoon round. They trailed Keiser by nine strokes by the end of the morning.
C-N was one-shot higher in the second round with a 291, causing the team to move down three spots on the leaderboard by end of Monday with a 581 total.
The Eagles tied for the fourth-most birdies in the field with 32 and was the fourth-best par 5 scoring team at 13-under on such holes.
Forster and Jackson Tyler (Wilmington, N.C.) were the only two players donned in Orange and Blue to land under par through the first two rounds of play.
"Nice playing from Tom and Jackson," Wylie said. "The rest of the guys weren't very sharp."
Forster leads the way for the Eagles heading into the final day tied for third. The team's leader had the most successful outing in the morning round at four-under. Through the first nine holes he faced in the first round, he was even for par with a trio of bogeys and birdies. He started the second half of the round with an eagle on the par-5 13-hole, moving him to two under. He was one of 13 participants in the field to shoot an eagle on the day.
From there, two more birdies gave Forster a 68 heading into the second round. The second round saw him shoot four shots higher for an even 72 with four bogeys and birdies, giving him a 140 through two rounds.
Tyler concluded Monday with sole possession of eighth-place with a 143. He had the second-best morning round for the Orange and Blue at one-under with three bogeys that were cleaned up with four birdies. He was one shot better in the second round thanks to a pair of birdies and bogeys, giving him 14 holes for par in the frame.
Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.) held a share of 37th by the end of the first two rounds at seven-over. The junior saw the most struggles in the first round of the day compared to the rest of the team with a six-over. He carded just one birdie with five bogeys and a double bogey for a 61. In the afternoon, he improved by five shots to card a 73. He was one-over through his first nine holes in the second round with three bogeys and a birdie. He added on an additional birdie and bogey after that.
Tied with Headrick is Jake Mynatt (Knoxville, Tenn.), also holding a 151 through two rounds. The first round brought a 77 to start his time in the tournament, carding a trio of birdies with six bogeys and a double bogey. He improved slightly in the later portion of the day with a 74. He shot four birdies and bogeys but faced a double bogey setback on the par 4 fifth-hole.
Will Collins (Knoxville, Tenn.) was one shot behind the duo with a 152, landing him in a tie for 41st. The freshman was one-over through his first nine holes of the morning with a birdie and double bogey. After that, he used two more birdies with three bogeys to sit at two-over for the first round with a 74. In the second round, he saw the biggest drop-off among C-N golfers with a four-stroke higher score at six-over. While he carded three birdies in the round, they were overshadowed by nine bogeys for a 78.
Keiser, the No. 6 team across NAIA schools, leads the field with an eight-under total of 568. One shot behind at second is No. 16 Nova Southeastern followed by a tie for third involving host team No. 14 Saint Leo and Valdosta State.
On the player side, Nova Southeastern's Juan Jose Guerra leads the field at nine-under with a 135 after shooting eight-under in the second round. Alberto Castagnara of Saint Leo is second with a 136 while a four-way tie for third follows four shots behind him.
The tournament concludes on Tuesday with one final round. The Eagles will begin teeing off at 9:20 a.m. on split tees. Fans can follow the action with live scoring through Golfstat.