RIO GRANDE, PUERTO RICO-- The North Carolina men's golf team opened up their spring season at the Puerto Rico Classic on Sunday and is in seventh place following the first round. The Tar Heels finished the afternoon at 3-over-par 291 with a great performance from senior and Southern Pines, N.C. native, Michael McGowan, who fired a 2-under-par 70 and is tied for tenth in the individual leaderboard.
McGowan was backed up by a solid effort from sophomore Bailey Patrick out of Charlotte, N.C. Patrick ended at even-par 72 but was 3-under-par until his last three holes, where he bogeyed all three ending in a tie for 21st overall. Andy Sajevic, a junior from Fremont, Neb., sits at tied for 36th after the first round where he carded five bogeys and three birdies to end up 2-over-par. Sophomore Brandon Dalinka finished at 3-over-par after shooting even-par on the front nine. Dalinka, from Newtown, Pa., is tied for 44th after Sunday's round. Rounding out the team is Patrick Barrett who shot 6-over-par 78. The senior from Pinehurst, N.C. is tied for 61st and looks to move up during Monday's round. Overall the Tar Heels had a hard time closing the round off well as the team combined to go 5-over-par on the players' last hole.
Head Coach Andrew Sapp commented on the team's performance on Sunday, "We got off to a solid start today which is important, but unfortunately gave some shots away at the end of the round. There were definitely some positives out there and Michael had a really nice 70. We just need to finish our round off better tomorrow so we can move up the leader board."
Alabama is in first place among the 15-team field after shooting a 9-under-par 279. Oklahoma is not far behind, only trailing by one stroke entering into the second round. Right on Oklahoma's tail is Clemson who shot a 7-under-par 281 to take third place. Georgia Tech and SMU round out the top-five after Georgia Tech finished 2-under 286 and SMU 1-under 287. Georgia stands between North Carolina and SMU after shooting a 2-over-par 290.
Billy Kennerly, from Clemson, is atop the leaderboard with a 5-under-par 67 after hitting in six birdies and an eagle. There are three players tied for second at 4-under 68 - Oklahoma's Eduardo Castiello and Beau Titsworth and SMU's Austin Smotherman. Five players are tied for fifth place at 3-under-par 69 - Augusta State's Maverick Antcliff, Clemson's Crawford Reeves, Georgia Tech's Seth Reeves, and Alabama's Tom Lovelady and Scott Strohmeyer.
The 54-hole event continues through Tuesday at Rio Mar Country Club's River Course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The course features a par 72, 6,945-yard layout. Live scoring is available on Golfstat.com. Tee times can be seen in the PDF attached to this article.