FRANKLIN, Tenn. (March 31, 2017) – ETSU’s Mateusz Gradecki (Oborniki Slaskie, Poland) had a good feeling entering this weekend’s Mason Rudolph Championship, and it showed following his opening round performance at the Vanderbilt Legends Club South Course.
Gradecki – who has played in this tournament all four years in the Blue and Gold – is in second place after firing a 4-under-par 67 in Friday’s opener. The Buccaneer leader had a flawless round as he recorded four birdies and 14 pars en route to sitting one shot off the lead after 18 holes of play.
After opening his round with back-to-back pars on No. 10 and 11, Gradecki birdied two of his next four to get to two-under thru the first six holes. Following three straight pars to end his first nine holes, Gradecki recorded his third birdie on the par-4, 414-yard No. 1 and collected his final birdie of the day on the par-5, 590-yard No. 6.
“I had a good feeling entering this weekend’s tournament, and I didn’t make many mistakes today,” said Gradecki, who finished tied for seventh at this event a year ago. “I played well here last year, and this course fits my game. I had some good putts, and I was able to control my ball in the windy conditions. I enjoy playing in the wind, so I used that to my advantage today.”
Vanderbilt’s Theo Humphrey holds the lead after round one as the 41st-ranked player posted a 5-under-par 67 on Friday. Humphrey was even thru 10 before finishing the afternoon with five birdies in his final eight holes to hold a one-shot lead. Humphrey leads Gradecki by one, while a group of five golfers are tied for third at 3-under-par 68.
Florida holds the team lead after day one as the sixth-ranked Gators totaled an 8-under 276 and lead No. 3 Vanderbilt by one stroke. Alabama sits in third at 6-under 278 and No. 21 Duke is in fourth at 4-under 280.
Despite the strong play by Gradecki, the Bucs are in 12th at 13-over-par 297. Following Gradecki’s 67, ETSU’s next lowest score came from junior Cayman Ratliff (Kingsport, Tenn.) as he’s tied for 47th at 3-over 74. The Bucs’ other two countable scores were from freshmen Zack Ford (Cochranton, Pa.) and Trevor Hulbert (Orlando, Fla.). Ford registered a 77 and Hulbert – who led the Blue and Gold two weeks ago in Georgia – turned in a 79 on day one.
The Bucs are grouped with Southern Illinois and Miami University in Saturday’s second round, which gets underway at 9:45 a.m. (Eastern).
For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.