MACON, Ga. - The Mercer men's golf team set the Brickyard Collegiate Golf Championship record for lowest single round on Saturday, teaming up for a 272 (-16) to charge from third to first place on the team leaderboard. The Bears had four players card red numbers on Saturday and will begin Sunday one stroke ahead of No. 3 Georgia Tech for the tournament lead.
Mercer's 272 followed an opening round 284 and bested Georgia's previous tournament record of 273, shot in the second round of the 2007 tournament. The Bears will start the final round one stroke ahead of No. 4 Georgia Tech for the tournament lead.
"Regardless of whether we set the record or not, it was a really good day," Mercer head coach Steve Bradley said. "We got off to a low start, but the thing I'm the most proud of is the way they responded. We didn't play the first five holes well, but the guys didn't get down on themselves and continued to battle."
Senior Hans Reimers led the way for the team on Saturday, firing a 7-under 65 to finish one stroke shy of tying the Brickyard at Riverside course record. He collected seven birdies and 11 pars, including a stretch of three-straight birdies on holes four, five and six. His Saturday effort vaulted him from a tie for 27th to a tie for fourth place after opening with a 73 on Friday.
"With Hans it doesn't matter how he hits on the range or the course, he competes on every shot," Bradley said. "He's got a great ability to play in the present and it's great to see his hard work rewarded."
Mercer freshman Emmanuel Kountakis retained the team's top individual spot, carding a 2-under 69 to follow his 68 on Friday. He finished with two birdies and an eagle in his final 10 holes and will start Sunday's final round just one stroke behind tournament leader Ollie Schniederjans (Georgia Tech).
"Emmanuel has got a lot to game, and still a lot to learn - which is exciting," Bradley said. "His upside is awesome when you consider what talent he has already. He played well in the first two rounds at Louisville but didn't finish strong. I think he'll draw on that experience tomorrow."
Freshman Sean Smothers and senior James Beale also fired sub-par rounds on Saturday. Smothers backed up a Friday 71 with a 4-under 68 and Beale improved on his first round 74 with a 2-under 70. Smothers is tied for sixth place overall while Beale is tied for 23rd.
Junior Trey Rule is also tied for 23rd place overall after booking back-to-back even-par 72's.
"I don't want to sound too cliché, but we need to play well tomorrow and not worry about the rest of the season," Bradley said. "I certainly think that we have confidence, and tomorrow will be a learning experience whether we win or lose."
Sophomores Evan Usry, Parks Brown and Jeffrey Heinicka, Jr. also competed as individuals on Saturday. All three players are tied for 46th individually with two-day totals of 150.
The final round of the Brickyard Collegiate Golf Championship is set for an 8 a.m. start on Sunday. Mercer is paired with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech and will go off of hole one at 9:30 a.m.