by Benny Benton
SNOW HILL, N.C. – The starters for the Barton College men's golf team did not produce their best results in Monday's season-opener, and some freshmen teammates playing as individuals proved capable of challenging them for a spot.
Barton's "A" team carded a combined round of 302 during the first round of the Cutter Creek Invitational and stands third among four official squads at the midpoint of the two-day event.
That unit was led by junior Justin Plane, who fired an even-par round of 72 on the 7,147-yard Cutter Creek Golf Club layout. The Whitby, Canada, resident stands tied for fifth in a field of 44.
Freshman Bryson Boyette, a hometown standout from Fike High School playing with the first unit, carded a 76 in his collegiate debut. He was followed by sophomore Dominic O'Brien and senior Derek Hamm, who both posted 77s, and senior Travis Broome, who recorded a 78.
The team's 302 is 11 shots back of tournament leader University of Mount Olive, and eight strokes back of second-place Cape Fear Community College. Johnston Community College is a distant fourth at 365.
Junior Scott Pechacek, leading Barton's "B" team, matched Plane's round of 72 for the lowest score of the day by a Bulldog.
Behind him, several newcomers playing with the "B" and "C" units had strong Barton debuts. Justin Poole, of Wendell, N.C., and Jared Dandy, of Vankleek Hill, Canada, both carded 74s to tie for 13th in the field.
Three players share the individual lead at the midpoint of the two-day tournament after firing rounds of 2-under par 70. They include Nick Adams of UMO, and Zach Bishop and Brett Krekorian of Limestone College.
Most of Barton's roster will have the opportunity to play head-to-head on Tuesday, as the "A" and "B" teams will be paired together for the final round. Those tee times will begin at 8:40 a.m. The "C" unit will start the round at 8 a.m.