BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The Penn men's golf team struggled on the first day of the NCAA South Central Regional, being played this week at The Club at Olde Stone, a par-72 course. The Quakers shot 313 as a team and are holding their No. 13 seed, ahead of just Alabama State in the field.
UCLA was the only team to shoot below par on the day, carding 284 (-4) as a team. The Bruins are 10 strokes ahead of second-place Chattanooga and Colorado State, while four teams -- Clemson, Texas A&M, North Texas and Memphis -- are tied for fourth place at 295 (+7).
Individually, UCLA's Pedro Figueiredo and Memphis' Jonathan Fly are the first-round leaders; both players shot 4-under-par 68. Another Bruin player, Patrick Cantlay, is one shot off the pace, while Chattanooga's Stephan Jaeger and Virginia Tech's Scott Vincent are two behind the leaders after carding 70s.
So how did Penn's individual rounds go?
Freshman Austin Powell led off the day for the Quakers, and shot a 7-over-par 79. He bogeyed his first NCAA hole but recovered immediately with a birdie on No. 2. However, bogeys on No. 4 and No. 5 put him in the black, and he slid again making the turn with bogeys at No. 9 and No. 10. Powell also bogeyed No. 13, but got that one back with a birdie at No. 14. However, a double bogey at No. 15 and another bogey at No. 17 closed his day.
Junior Colin St. Maxens matched Powell's 79, with one hole upsetting an otherwise consistent round. He had just two bogeys on the first 10 holes, at No. 4 and No. 5, and despite another on No. 11 he was just three over heading to the 16th tee. However, St. Maxens triple-bogeyed that par 3, and added another bogey at No. 18 to finish his round.
Junior P.J. Fielding started out slowly, with bogeys on his first two holes. He recovered with three pars, then earned a birdie on No. 6 to get back to 1-over par. However, he gave it back with a bogey on No. 7, then double-bogeyed No. 9 to hit the turn at 4-over par. Fielding had another bogey at No. 11, but back-to-back birdies on No. 13 and No. 14 had him back at +3. Fielding's luck ran out there, however, as he bogeyed 15, double-bogeyed 16, and bogeyed 18.
Sophomore Max Marsico was Penn's low scorer on Thursday, shooting a 4-over-par 76. He had Penn's only red number of the day after he birdied No. 3, but was back even after a bogey on No. 4. Marsico was still even heading to the eighth tee, where he bogeyed, and then a double bogey at No. 9 put him at +3 hitting the turn. Another double bogey at No. 12 put the sophomore at +5, but he birdied No. 15 and No. 18 -- sandwiching them around a bogey at No. 17 -- to end with some momentum.
Senior captain Scotty Williams played as Penn's No. 1 player but did not score on the day, as he finished at 8-over-par 80. A bogey on No. 1, followed by a double at No. 4 and another bogey at No. 5, put him at +4 through just five holes. Williams had a birdie on No. 7, but gave it back with another double at No. 8 and a bogey at No. 9 to put him +6 at the turn. The senior birdied No. 11, but bogeys at the 13th, 14th and 16th set him back.
Penn's tee times on Friday are as follows: Williams will be first, at 9:40 a.m. (10:40 Eastern); Powell will tee at 9:50; St. Maxens will go at 10:00; Fielding will tee at 10:10; and Marsico will tee off at 10:20 a.m. The Quakers will tee off from No. 10 and once again play with Alabama State, as well as the five individuals in the field.