BRASELTON, Ga. (School Release)- Junior James Beale booked a 75 (+3) in Sunday's opening round of the Atlantic Sun Championship to lead the Bears to a tie for fifth place on the team leaderboard. Mercer's Sunday total of 308 at The Legends Course of Chateau Elan positions the team seven strokes behind Jacksonville and East Tennessee State for third place and 19 strokes off North Florida's tournament leading pace.
UNF, which touts Golfstat's No. 17 ranking, saw its senior duo of Sean Dale and Kevin Phelan account for two of Sunday's four sub-par rounds. The tandem's 71's placed the Ospreys nine strokes up on Kennesaw State (298) and 12 strokes ahead of both Jacksonville and ETSU.
"It's not an easy golf course," Mercer head coach Steve Bradley said. "Firm greens combined with winds and cooler temperatures made the course play longer today. We got off to a rough start and righted the ship in the middle, but we played our last two holes eight over par which is disappointing."
After shooting 40 on the front nine, Beale carded three birdies in his final nine holes to move into a tie for 10th place individually. The Auckland, New Zealand native was one of just three players to card four or more birdies in Sunday's action and is set to begin Monday's second round just four strokes behind the tournament leaders. All told, 14 of the tournament's 50 participants are leading or within four shots of the lead.
Sophomore Hans Reimers used 76 strokes and is tied for 15th place, while sophomore Trey Rule fired a 78 and is tied for 27th. Freshman Jeffrey Heinicka and senior John Gregory Joseph posted 79's and are tied for 31st place overall.
"There were some good things that came out of today," Bradley said. "If you look at the scores, everyone was fairly high except for North Florida. We've got to play one shot at a time tomorrow and see how far we can move up."
Monday's second round is scheduled for an 8 a.m. start. Live hole-by-hole scoring can be accessed at www.GolfStat.com.