Golf: Panthers get off to strong start at NCAA Division III championship

Golf: Panthers get off to strong start at NCAA Division III championship

GREENSBORO, N.C. - LaGrange got off to a strong start Tuesday in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship at the Grandover Resort.

Playing the West Course, the Panthers shot a 2-over par 290 and are in third place, trailing only first round leader Schreiner and fellow USA South member Methodist.

"We came out smoking and it was nice to get off to a good start," Head Coach Lee Richter said. "We lost some momentum on a couple of holes, then got it going again before we started leaking oil at the end.

"All in all it was a really good day. We have the youngest team here and I was real pleased with the way we played, but there is still a long way to go."

Junior Cory Howard led the Panthers with a two-under par 70. Howard opened his round with 11 straight pars. He had back-to-back birdies at 12 and 13 before having his first bogey at 15. Howard bounced back with two more birdies before closing with a bogey at 18. He is tied for sixth in the individual standings.

Freshman Osborn Theam was a shot back of Howard with a 71. Theam was 2-under through six holes before back-to-back bogeys at 7 and 8. He birdied two of the first three holes on the back nine before a bogey at 16 brought him back to 1-under.

The Panthers led the 41-team field in the early going, largely on the strength of their play on the par-5 sixth hole. Logan Lanier's eagle on the hole sparked the Panthers, along with birdies by Theam, Freddie Wolford and Anthony Scolapio.

For the day, the Panthers played the four par-5 holes at 6-under par. The par 4 seventh and eight holes slowed the Panthers down, as they were 7-over par on the two holes.

Wolford capped his first round with back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 for a 1-over par 73. He putted from off the green from 20 feet at 17, then nicked the flag stick on 18, leaving a short putt for birdie.

Lanier and Scolapio each finished with 4-over par 76s. In addition to his eagle, Lanier also birdied the par-5 12th hole. Scolapio closed out his round with eight straight pars.

The Panthers will play the second round Wednesday on the East Course. The field will be trimmed down to 15 teams for the final two rounds.