Courtesy of LaGrange Daily News
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. - The LaGrange College Panthers got their spring season off to a flying start on Monday, charging to the front of the pack at the Pine Needles Intercollegiate.
With Cory Howard playing his way into contention for low-medalist honors with a 72, the Panthers shot a team score of 297, leaving them with a three-shot lead over Guilford College, the host school and the country's top-ranked NCAA Division III team.
The tournament wraps up today with another 18 holes.
"We have another day to go, but we're in good shape," LaGrange College head coach Lee Richter said. "It's not a one-day tournament, it's a two-day tournament, so we'll see what happens (today)."
Howard, a freshman, led the charge. Howard overcame a pair of double bogeys to shoot a 1-over par score, leaving him one shot behind tournament leader Cody Pestun of Wesley.
The Panthers' All-American golfer, senior Hudson Keener, had his usual solid result, posting a 74, leaving him in a tie for seventh. Keener has finished seventh and third, respectively, at the past two Division III national tournaments.
Hunter Keener came through with a 75, and in his first collegiate tournament, freshman David Hensley shot a 76.
"That was a good number coming right out of the gate for his college career," Richter said.
Freddie Wolford struggled to an 84, but it didn't matter since only the top four scores count toward a team's total.
Richter said the game plan will be the same today as it was Monday.
"We'll go in with the same mindset that we're going to play the hole, and not the men," Richter said.
This is the first of six tournaments the Panthers have scheduled this spring, including the Great South Athletic Conference tournament in April. The Panthers are hopeful a strong spring season, following a productive fall season, will land them a spot in the Division III championship in May.