Aug. 30, 2009
RIVERSIDE, Iowa –
Florida State junior golfer Drew Kittleson birdied four of his last five holes to shoot a 70 and move within two strokes of the individual lead and the Seminole men’s golf team is in third place after the first round of the Inaugural GolfWeek Collegiate Challenge at the Blue Top Ridge Golf Course. In birdying the 16th and 18th holes, Kittleson helped vault the Seminoles into third place – one stroke ahead of Iowa, the host team for the event.
“Overall with three players that did not play for us last year I am pleased with chemistry and effort of our play at this point,’ said Jones. “Our objective is to compete to win every week and we will learn more about where we are in the next couple of rounds.”
Baylor, with two players in the top five of the individual standings, is the team leader after the first 18 holes of the 54 hole tournament. The Bears have a five stroke lead of Middle Tennessee State and a seven stroke lead over third place Florida State. Baylor’s Payne Gniewek, Xavier’s Sebastian Maclean and Middle Tennessee State’s Jason Millard are tied for first place in the individual standings after shooting identical scores of four-under par 68.
Following an uneventful first side of the course on which he carded nine consecutive pars, Kittleson (Scottsdale, Ariz.) turned the heat up over his final five holes of the afternoon. He birdied the par three 14th, the par four 15th and the par five 16th to move under par for the first time during the round. He was even on the par four 17th and closed his round with a birdie on the par four 18th hole.
Kittleson is tied for seventh place in the individual standings with a group of four players and begins play in the second round only two strokes behind the trio of golfers holding the individual lead.
“Michael was five shots ahead of Drew through 12 holes,” said Jones. “Drew finished -2 and Michael even par – that is the value of experience.”
A pair of Florida State freshmen – Michael Hebert and Doug Letson – who are playing in their first collegiate event performed extraordinarily well as both carded even par scores of 72. Both players are tied for 16th place in the individual standings and are only four strokes behind the individual leaders
Hebert (Orlando, Fla.) enjoyed most of his success on the front nine as he totaled a two-under par total with four birdies and three holes of par. He totaled two birdies and two holes of par on the back nine. Hebert was under par for 16 of the 18 holes he played during his first round as a Seminole after earning a birdie three on the first hole of his collegiate career. He was as many as three under par during the first round.
“Michael proved his talent by getting his score to minus three through 12 but pressed little on the way in and made some mistakes,” said Jones. “He will turn that round into a 66 in the future.”
Letson (Tampa, Fla.) was never more than two strokes over par during the round and turned in the shot of the round for the Seminoles – an eagle two on the par four 15th hole. The eagle moved him to par for the round as he finished his first collegiate round with an even par 72. Letson finished the round with 14 holes at par or better with two birdies and the eagle.
“Doug continues to impress me with his composure and short game,” said Jones. “He has a good mind and great hands that will take him a long way in golf.”
“I am proud of the way the freshmen competed today. At times they looked like more mature than some of their teammates and at times they looked like freshmen. We definitely have two players who will make a positive impact on this team and I would not be surprised if they did it sooner than later.
Senior Seath Lauer (Huntington, Ind.) is in a tie for 23rd place after carding a one-over par 73 while sophomore Wesley Graham (Port Orange, Fla.) is in a tie for 47th place after carding a four-over par score of 76. With four birdies in the round Lauer was as many as two strokes under par while Graham was even par over the final nine holes of the round.
“Seath is playing well and let a good round get away from him today,” said Jones. “As a senior we need him to come back with two good rounds if we want to win this tournament.”
The Seminoles will look to make up ground in the second round as it begins Monday at 8:00 am CDT. The final round of the event is scheduled for Tuesday.
Inaugural GolfWeek Collegiate Challenge/Par 72/First Round FSU Results Blue Top Ridge Golf Course/Riverside, Iowa/August 30-Sept. 1, 2009 3/15. Florida State 287 T7. Drew Kittleson 70 T16. Michael Hebert 72 T16. Doug Letson 72 T23. Seath Lauer 73 T47. Wesley Graham 76
Inaugural GolfWeek Collegiate Challenge/Par 72/First Round Team Results Blue Top Ridge Golf Course/Riverside, Iowa/August 30-Sept. 1, 2009 1. Baylor 280 9. Texas-Arlington 297 2. M. Tennessee St. 285 T10. New Mexico State 298 3. Florida State 287 T10. Illinois State 298 4. Iowa 288 12. VCU 299 5. Xavier 290 13. Memphis 302 6. Coastal Carolina 292 14. Georgia Southern 306 7. Vanderbilt 293 15. South Florida 310 8. Cal 296