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JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (Oct. 9, 2022) – ETSU sophomore Algot Kleen (Fiskebackskil, Sweden) has been playing well at home in practice rounds and on Sunday he was able to put on a show for the public to see.
Highlighted by a 6-under-par 66, Kleen and the Buccaneers hold both the team and individual leads following first round play of the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at Blackthorn Club.
Kleen, who posted the lowest round of his collegiate career, played the back nine at five-under to climb up the leaderboard. After bogeying his first hole of the round, Kleen was flawless as he posted one eagle, five birdies and 11 pars over his final 17 holes to capture the outright lead. Kleen’s eagle came on the par-5, 567-yard No. 4 – and following five pars to end the front nine – the Buccaneer sophomore kicked it into another gear on the back. It started with a birdie on the par-5, 10th, and Kleen then enjoyed a run of three straight birdies on No. 13, 14 and 15 to get to five-under for the round. Kleen put the exclamation mark on his stellar round by sinking a 32-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to finish with the 66.
“I was hitting the ball well all day and then I just started making some putts,” said Kleen, whose previous low round was a 67, set at last year’s White Sands Bahamas Inivtational. “It felt good (to go out there and play well on our home course). I’ve been playing good in qualifying and practice, so it’s nice to get it done in a tournament. I hope to go back out there again tomorrow and do the same thing. I have to make good shots and some putts to help the team out.”
Kleen has a two-shot cushion heading into round two; however, eight golfers are tied for second at 4-under-par 68.
“Algot (AK) had a great round,” said head coach Jake Amos. “We’ve been seeing that a lot at home, lately. He’s been trying to replicate it come tournament time. It looks like he figured that out. He was really relaxed and focused today.”
Mats Ege (Kristiansand, Norway) is tied for 10th at 3-under 69 and Archie Davies (Carlisle, England) is tied for 15th at 2-under 70. Like Kleen, Ege also birdied the 18th when his approach shot landed within a couple feet from the cup and he tapped in for a three.
As a team, the Bucs totaled 22 birdies in Sunday’s opening round as Kleen, Ege and Davis accounted for 13.
ETSU, looking to repeat as team champion on its home course, got off to a strong start as the Blue and Gold hold the first round lead at 11-under-par 277. The Bucs have a two-stroke advantage over Cincinnati and Georgia Southern, while Missouri is in fourth at 4-under 284 and three teams are tied for fifth at 2-under-par 286.
“I am pleased with how we started,” said Amos. “The course was playing a little bit tougher than last year. The greens are quicker, the rough is thicker and it was cold this morning. We did a nice job. We got strong play from AK, and Archie and Mats did their job with nice, solid rounds. I would’ve liked another score under-par. Our freshman, Carson (Kammann), played really nice, but he just didn’t get anything out of his round. I know Remi (Chartier) had a couple of bad shots and got off to a slow start, so for him to fight back and shoot level was really nice. Cincinnati and Georgia Southern are right behind us, so we have to make sure we keep our foot down.”
The Bucs got red-hot on the back nine thanks to dominating the par-5s. For the round, ETSU played the par-5s at 13-under-par to lead the 15-team field. With ETSU’s four countable scores on Sunday, the Bucs played the back nine at 9-under-par, courtesy of 11 birdies.
Remi Chartier (Montreal, Canada) bounced back nicely on the back nine as he shot two-under down the stretch to get back to even-par 72 for the tournament. Chartier posted three straight bridies on No. 12, 13 and 14.
Local product, Jack Tickle (Bristol, Tenn.) – playing as an individual – shot a 1-under 71 on Sunday and is tied for 20th.
Second round play gets started Monday at 9:30 a.m., while the Bucs don’t hit the course until 11:10 a.m., starting with freshman Carson Kammann (Knoxville, Tenn.). ETSU will be grouped with Cincinnati and Georgia Southern.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s golf, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s golf page.