by Benny Benton
SNOW HILL, N.C. – The Barton College men's golf team got off to a solid start in the 2018 Conference Carolinas Championship on Sunday at Cutter Creek Golf Club, posting a team round of 292 to tie for third place in the eight-team field.
Barton tied with King University for third place, two strokes ahead of nationally-ranked No. 7 Limestone College and four shots behind No. 37 North Greenville University.
Upstart Southern Wesleyan University, at No. 88 in Golfstat's Relative NCAA Division II Rankings the lowest of the eight teams in the field, went out early in the morning before the winds picked up and fired a school-record round of 3-under par 285 to claim the lead.
Eric Shea set a SWU freshman record with a torrid round of 66 on the 7,191-yard, par-72 layout. Shea was 5-under through the first six holes and finished the day with eight birdies and two bogeys. He holds a three-shot lead over Robert Wilkinson of King.
Barton's foursome of players at 73 are all tied for 13th place in the field of 40, while Plane is tied for 19th. Hamm made four birdies in his round, Boyette, Broome and Plane all made three, and Pechacek made two.
The Bulldogs will join North Greenville and Southern Wesleyan in the final threesomes of the day for tomorrow's second round. Plane will lead Barton off No.1 at 12:20 p.m., and Boyette will represent BC in the final group at 12:52 p.m.
The championship, which continues through Tuesday, is free and open to the public.