DENVER, Colo. – Saint Leo University braved morning rain and cold conditions to take the lead after the first round of the 2016 NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship at Green Valley Ranch in Denver.
Only five teams shot par or below in tough conditions, with Chico State and Florida Southern tied for second and Central Oklahoma and Barry rounding out the top five.
Saint Leo, bidding for its first NCAA Division II national championship, stormed into the lead at -10 (278) led by freshman Hugo Bernard’s seven-under 65, which put him atop the individual standings. Joey Savoie (-3, T4) and Liam Ainsworth (-1, T12) were also under par for the Lions.
Chico State and Florida Southern are tied for second at -6 (282), with Chico paced by Matt Hutchins’ -4 round of 68 and John VanDerLaan carding the same for FSC.
Central Oklahoma and Wilmington (Del.) were the surprise teams of the day, as the pair were the two best in the afternoon rounds at +1. The 28th-ranked Bronchos had a three-stroke spread in their scoring, while unranked Wilmington (Del.) was led by second-place Freddy Braun’s -5 67.
In the individual standings, Braun trails Bernard by two strokes, with VanDerLaan and Hutchins lurking three shots off the lead. Seven competitors shot three-under to tie for fifth.
MORE: Full leaderboard
- Bernard attacked the course’s longest holes to birdie all four of Green Valley Ranch’s par 5s, including the 615-yard ninth and 635-yard 18th. Bernard had only one bogey in his round and was two strokes off the championship record.
- The top two spots on the individual leaderboard have an international flair – Bernard hails from Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, while Braun is a native of Stuttgart, Germany.
- Tiffin’s Brett Green carded the only eagle of the day, holing out for three on the 577-yard second.
- NCAA Division II 2015 runner-up Mateo Gomez (Lynn) had a steady first round to sit in a tie for 13th at -2. He is the highest returning finisher from last year.
- In the field of 108 golfers, 25 carded under-par rounds.
- It is the first time the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships have been held in the state of Colorado. The last time the NCAA hosted any golf championship in the state was 1969, when Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs hosted the last of its four NCAA Division I men’s tournaments.
Team Standings (Top 10)
1. St. Leo, -10 (278)
t2. Chico State, -6 (282)
t2. Florida Southern, -6 (282)
4. Barry, E (288)
t5. Central Oklahoma, +1 (289)
t5. Wilmington, +1 (289)
7. Oklahoma Christian, +2 (290)
8. Lynn, +3 (291)
9. Cal Baptist, +5 (293)
10. West Florida, +6 (294)
Individual Standings (Top 10)
1. Hugo Bernard (St. Leo), -7 (65)
2. Freddy Braun (Wilmington), -5 (67)
t3. John VanDerLaan (Florida Southern), -4 (68)
t3. Matt Hutchins (Chico State), -4 (68)
t5. Niclas Weiland (Barry), -3 (69)
t5. Kavan Eubank (Cal Baptist), -3 (69)
t5. Alejandro Valenzuela (Oklahoma Christian), -3 (69)
t5. Griffin Brown (Limestone), -3 (69)
t5. Joey Savoie (St. Leo), -3 (69)
t5. Calum Hill (Western New Mexico), -3 (69)
t5. Richard Mansell (Nova Southeastern), -3 (69)