April 21, 2014
NINETY SIX - Defending champion Coastal Carolina shot an opening round 3-under par 285 to take a one-stroke lead over Charleston Southern in the 2014 Big South Men's Golf Championships, which is being contested at The Patriot Golf Club at Grand Harbor (par 72, 7,120 yards).
Coastal Carolina has now led three consecutive rounds of the Championship and is the 18-hole leader for the first time since 2010. The Chanticleers' top four scorers all finished among the individual top 10 as each of the four turned in rounds of par or better.
A total of 11 shots separate the top seven teams in the standings. Winthrop (even par) is two strokes behind second-place Charleston Southern. No. 1 seed and 35th-ranked Liberty is fourth with a 2-over 290, two shots ahead of fifth-place Radford (292). The Highlanders are two ahead of Presbyterian College (294), which is ahead of Campbell by two shots (296). Gardner-Webb is eighth at 311, with Longwood and High Point tied for ninth at 315.
Charleston Southern's David Denlinger holds the first round lead with a 6-under par 66 -- the second-lowest first round individual score in Men's Golf Championship history. He started his day on the back nine and eagled his second hole of the morning -- the par 4, 440-yard No. 11. Denlinger finished with birdies on three of his last four holes before making the turn with a 5-under 31. He later offset three bogeys with four birdies on the front nine to finish as the only player in the 60s and a four-shot lead after 18 holes.
Coastal Carolina is led by Ben Wheeler. The junior is tied for second after posting an opening round 2-under par 70. He started on the back nine and was one under through six holes with a birdie on the par 4 14th hole. He suffered back-to-back bogeys on holes 16 and 17 before making the turn at 1-over par. Wheeler posted six pars and birdies on holes two, five and six to post his 12th round this season at par or better.
Classmate Andrew Dorn is tied for sixth, carding a 1-under par 71 - his 14th round this season of par or better. He had 15 pars on the day. On his opening nine holes, he offset a bogey on the 11th hole with a birdie on the 17th to make the turn at even par. He then reeled off seven pars before posting a birdie on the eighth hole to get to 1-under.
Roberto Ballesteros and Peter Valasek each turned in rounds of even par and are each tied for 10th place. Ballesteros had three birdies and three bogeys for his 72, while Valasek turned in five birdies - the second-best total for the opening round - with three bogeys and a double bogey.
Freshman Olle Widegren shot an opening round 77 and is tied for 31st.
The Big South Championships will have 18 holes Tuesday and a final 18 holes on Wednesday.