NICHOLASVILLE, Kentucky – Steph Lee (Manalapan, N.J./Saint John Vianney) was the top Goucher College men's golfer at the NCAA Division III Championships at the Keane Run Course at the Keane Trace Golf Club on Tuesday.
"The golf course played very long in round one," said two-time Landmark Conference Coach of the Year Hunter Brown. "We had a good chance to hang in and put up a good score but we struggled on the closing holes. I am proud of the guys for fighting strong and hanging in there."
Lee shot a four-over par first nine holes on the afternoon. After bogeying the first three holes in his round (10, 11, 12), he posted a par on 13, a double bogey on 14, pars on 15 and 16 before notching his first birdie of the day on No. 17 and a par on 18. The sophomore then made the turn with a bogey and a birdie on hole 1 and 2 before five-straight pars. Lee was on a roll with a one under score on his last 12 holes going into his final two holes of the day and sat four over par overall with two holes to go. He then recorded double bogeys on his final two holes to finish with a round of 80 to sit in 123rd place.
Julian Gonzalez (Heredia, Costa Rica/Berkley Academy), an All-Landmark Conference first team selection after finishing second in the Landmark Conference Championships, shot an 81 in the opening round. The freshman finished the first nine holes with a three-over par. After starting the round with a bogey, he then recorded pars on his next three holes (11,12,13). After a double bogey on 14 and a par on 15, he notched his first birdie of the day on 16 before bogeying 17 and making the turn after a par on 18. Gonzalez started his final nine holes with two bogeys before two pars on 3 and 4. After a double bogey on 5, he notched a par and a triple bogey before a birdie on No. 8 and a par on No. 9 to end his day in 140th place.
Evan Yue (Beijing, China/IMG Academy), a two-time All-Landmark Conference first-team selection, posted an 82 in the opening round on Tuesday. He shot a 43 on the first nine holes after a double bogey to start his day on 10, pars on 12, 15 and 17 and bogeys on 11, 13, 14, 16 and 18. He started the final nine holes the same way he started with a double bogey, but then played one-over par in his final eight holes thanks to a birdie on two, pars on 3,4,5,8 and 9 and bogeys on 6 and 7 to end the first round in 152nd place.
Nick Fisher (Fishers, Ind./Fishers) had a good start to his first appearance on the national stage, carding a two-over par round through 11 holes. The freshman finished with a team-high three birdies (15, 17, 2) along with pars on 10, 12, 16 and 1, bogeys on 11, 13 and 14 on his first 11 holes. The freshman, who was named to the All-Landmark Conference second team, was shooting four over with three holes to go after bogeys on 3 and 4 and pars on 5 and 6, but then closed his round with a double bogey, bogey and triple bogey to finish with a round of 82 in 152nd place.
Roberto Mikse (Fort Worth, Texas/Jim McClean Junior Academy) rounded out the Goucher competitors with a round of 89. The sophomore posted a par on 10 followed by five-straight bogeys before closing out the final three holes with three pars to make the turn at five-over par. The sophomore started his back nine with a par before bogeying the next three holes followed by a double bogey, bogey, triple bogey, double bogey and bogey to end his first round to sit in 206th place.
Goucher currently sits in 35th place after shooting a 325 in the first round. The Top-18 teams advance to rounds three and four. Last year, the cut was a two-round score of 608 while the Gophers currently sit 15 strokes behind the 18th-place team going into round two.
In addition, the Top-6 individuals advance to the final two rounds. Yue narrowly missed the cut last season after losing a playoff thanks to a two-round score of 148. The Top-6 cutoff going into the second round is even par.
"Hopefully we can have a stronger day tomorrow," said Brown. "We hope to play strategically and make good decisions and keep the mistakes to a minimum."
Goucher will play round two on the Keane Trace Champions Course on Wednesday. The course is home to the PGA Barbasol Championships in July for the third-straight season. The Gophers will once again be paired with Oglethorpe University and the University of Redlands for the second round, but will be the last group of teams to tee off from hole one. Mikse will hit the course first at 12:50 p.m. and will be followed by Lee (1:00 p.m.), Fisher (1:10 p.m.), Yue (1:20 p.m.) and Gonzalez will be the last one on the course at 1:30 p.m.