ETSU senior and 13th-ranked Gareth Shaw (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) posted a first round score of 3-under-par 69 to finish second, while freshman Rhys Enoch (Cornwall, England) finished at 2-under 70 for third, but it was Gardner-Webb's Blake Palmer who was the story of the day, finishing atop the leaderboard with a score of 7-under 65. Palmer's efforts powered the Runnin' Bulldogs, who also finished in first place on the team leaderboard with a 284, eight strokes ahead of defending champion ETSU.
"Gareth and Rhys played very well, and we're proud of them for allowing us to hang in there," said ETSU head coach Fred Warren. "This course requires a lot of patience and I think some of the guys got a little impatient out there. We're kind of disappointed with our score today, but we have time to make some adjustments."
Along with Shaw and Enoch, sophomore Seamus Power (Waterford, Ireland) finished tied for 22nd with a 4-over 76, while junior Jordan Findlay (Fraserburgh, Scotland) and senior Cian McNamara (Limerick, Ireland) were both tied for 26th at 77.
"It's the kind of course that you think you should be scoring well," Shaw said. "But if you are in the trees you end up deep in the trees and pitching out sideways. I think we leaned a lot from the course today, and that should make it easier for some of us to go lower tomorrow. That's what we need."
Second round action will continue on Tuesday, with final round play set for Wednesday morning. Fans can watch live scoring of the even on the web at Golfstat.com, or get a complete wrap up of the day's play at ETSUBucs.com.