JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (April 18, 2004)
-- The Furman Paladins posted a team score of three-under-par 285 to assume the lead after first-round play in the 68th Southern Conference Men's Golf Championships Sunday at the Ridges Golf and Country Club.
The Paladins hold a decisive nine-stroke lead over surprising Appalachian State, which finished last season's tournament in 10th place and posted a score 12 strokes better than their season average at 294. Along with Furman and Appalachian State, Davidson and Georgia Southern are tied for third at 297, while Chattanooga rounds out the top five at 298.
ETSU is currently in ninth, 18 strokes back of Furman.
"Our guys were very confident coming in here and I think that showed today," said Furman head coach Todd Satterfield, whose team won two of its final three regular season tournaments before coming to the championship. "As a team, you like to be peaking at this time of the year and I think the success we've had in recent weeks has been a big help."
Furman got a significant boost from redshirt sophomore Shane Birckbichler and senior Matt Davidson, who finished first and second, respectively, on the individual leaderboard. Birckbichler fired a career-best, 3-under-par 69 and Davidson finished at 2-under on the day.
"This was the best round I've shot in college so far," said Birckbichler. "I just didn't get ahead of my self and stayed confident. Those birdies on 10, 11 and 12 were big."
Appalachian State's Matt Riddick is also tied in second place at 2-under, while Davidson's Christian Davis, Georgia Southern's Bryan Jones, UNC Greensboro's Andy Bare and East Tennessee State's Rhys Davies
(Bridgend, Wales) are all tied for fourth at 1-under.
Satterfield said the Paladins, who are second only to ETSU in SoCon titles with 11 all-time, understand Monday's second round is critically important.
"The lead doesn't matter until Tuesday when everything's done and over with," said Satterfield. "But tomorrow is a big day for us to stay in there and have a chance to win."
Second round play will begin Monday, while final round play is scheduled for Tuesday. Admission is free to the public and teams will tee off at approximately 8 a.m.
Southern Conference Champion.
The Ridges Golf and CC Jonesborough,TN
Dates: 04/18 - 04/20 (Today:04-18-2004)
|1 ||Furman University ||285|
|2 ||Appalachian State U. ||294|
|3 ||Georgia Southern U. ||297|
| ||Davidson College ||297|
|5 ||Tenn.-Chattanooga ||298|
|6 ||N. Car.- Greensboro ||299|
|7 ||Charleston, Coll. of ||300|
| ||Wofford College ||300|
|9 ||East Tennessee St. ||303|
|10 ||Elon University ||306|
|11 ||Western Carolina U. ||307|
|12 ||Citadel, The ||309|
|1 ||Shane Birckbichler ||Furman ||36- 33 ||69|
|2 ||Matt Davidson ||Furman ||36- 34 ||70|
| ||Matt Riddick ||Appal. St. ||34- 36 ||70|
|4 ||Rhys Davies ||E Tenn. St ||35- 36 ||71|
| ||Andy Bare ||NC Greensb ||34- 37 ||71|
| ||Christian Davis ||Davidson ||37- 34 ||71|
| ||Bryan Jones ||Ga. South ||35- 36 ||71|
|T ||4 ||Rhys Davies ||35- 36 ||71|
|T ||33 ||Andrew Paduch ||38- 39 ||77|
|T ||33 ||Cennydd Mills ||39- 38 ||77|
|T ||43 ||Jeremy Hobson ||41- 37 ||78|
|T ||43 ||Chase Baldwin ||42- 36 ||78|