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Owls come out firing in NCAA first round

HENDERSON, Nev. — With a six-under-par team score of 282, the Kenyon College men’s golf team put itself right into the thick of things during Tuesday’s first round of the NCAA Division III Championship. The Owls’ score has them in a tie for sixth place with Bethel University (MN) and defending national champion Carnegie Mellon University.

The Kenyon team’s stroke count was not a program record, but its relation to par (six under) was, breaking the not-so-old, single-round mark of four-under-par set by this same 2023-24 Kenyon team during the Savannah Invitational on March 4-5.

The Owls’ newest record was logged at The Legacy Golf Club, one of two courses that are being played during the four-round NCAA Championship. Wednesday, the Owls will switch sites and play Boulder Creek Golf Club, in Boulder City, Nevada.

Throughout Tuesday’s opening round, Kenyon was paced by first-year Jaiden Koonar, who fired a three-under-par 69. Starting on the back nine, Koonar made the turn in one-under-par. On the front, he birdied hole No. 1, bogeyed hole No. 2, and then went on to birdie the two par-5s. His score has him in a seven-way tie for 14th place among the field of 221 golfers.

One stroke back of Koonar was junior Armand Ouellette. His round of 70 started out with three birdies and a bogey on his first nine and then one birdie and one bogey on his second nine. He’ll begin day two of the championship in a 12-way tie for 21st place on the individual leaderboard.

First-year Jonathan Oakes carded a team-high five birdies, but his scorecard took a hit with one double-bogey on each nine. Still, his final first-round score of one-under-par 71 put him in a 13-way tie for 33rd place.

Sophomore Will Hulsey was Kenyon’s final scoring golfer in the first round. He posted an even-par 72 with two birdies and two bogeys on each nine. He is locked into a tie for 46th place with 16 other golfers.

Although Kenyon fifth-man, senior Garrett Thesing didn’t have his score count toward the team total, he turned in a solid round of one-over-par 73, which has him in a logjam with 17 players tied for 63rd place.

At the top of the team leaderboard sits 2022 champion Methodist University at 17-under. Emory University is one shot back in second place and University of Redlands holds down third place with a team score of 13-under 275.

Following tomorrow’s second round of competition, the 43-team field will be cut to the top 18 teams and top six individuals not on one of those teams.

Kenyon’s second round tee times start at 12:50 p.m. PDT. 

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