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Eagles shoot 9-over, contending after first round
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Georgia Southern senior golfer Spence Fulford headlined first round action for the Eagles at the 2010 NCAA Golf Championships (June 1). Fulford carded a 1-under 71 pacing GS to a 9-over 297 effort on opening day action at The Honors Course, a par 72, 7,395-yard layout.

Oklahoma State and Florida State claim shares of first at 5-under par 283. Oregon and Texas A&M take third and fourth at 284 (-4) and 285 (-3), respectively. Arizona State and Clemson are tied in fifth at 286 (-2), while Florida and Augusta State complete the top eight tied in seventh at 1-under 287. Georgia Southern sits tied for 23rd place (297) after round one, 10 strokes out of a top eight finish.

“We got off to a struggle, but we had two guys turn in solid scores,” stated head coach Larry Mays. “But like any other tournament, we need four good scores to compete at this level and we didn’t have them today. I’m proud of Spence [Fulford] and Logan [Blondell] for putting up solid rounds today.”

The Eagles, receiving a morning tee time of 8:35 a.m., opened on the first hole paired with LSU and Baylor. GS got off to a rough start shooting a competitive 6-over on the front nine. But after the Eagles took the turn to the back nine, the team finished strong carding 2-over on the final nine holes.

Fulford (Rocky Mount, N.C.) led the team with his 1-under 71. The senior scattered four birdies through 18 holes on Tuesday, and with his 1-under effort, stands only three strokes out of first place in a tie for 25th in the 156-person field. Fulford shot a 36 on the front nine after evening his scorecard with a pair of birdies on the fourth and fifth holes. After eight consecutive pars, Fulford dipped to 1-under permanently with a birdie on No. 17. 

Junior Logan Blondell (Lakeland, Fla.) opened with a 36 on the front nine before posting a 37 on his second nine. Heading into the final two holes on the front, Blondell stood at 1-over, but a birdie on nine allowed the junior to take the turn at even-par. Blondell finished the back nine with one birdie, two bogeys and six pars to stand in a tie for 52nd after one round at 1-over 73.

With a round one 4-over 76, senior Ryan Zabroske (Alpharetta, Ga.) is tied for 103rd place going into the second round. Zabroske posted a 38 on his front nine and followed suit with an identical 38 on the back nine. The senior highlighted the round with two birdies on the front nine and one on the back.

Redshirt-freshman Florian Sander (Bregenz, Austria) carded a 5-over 77 to stand in a tie for 119th place. After a birdie-free first nine, Sander turned in an even back nine compliments of birdies on the tenth and 16th holes.

Matt Deal (Statesboro, Ga.) rounded out the Eagle lineup with a 7-over 79. Deal currently sits in a 139th place tie entering the second round. 

“The course is a long, championship-style course and the greens were soft,” noted Mays. “Perhaps we played a little too conservative today and may not have adjusted as well. But to qualify for match-play, we are going to need to take a few more chances to put together two good rounds and eight good scores over the next two days.”

Georgia Southern will start the second round Wednesday afternoon from the No. 10 tee box beginning at 1:47 p.m. Matt Deal will be first off the tee for GS. The Eagles remain paired with LSU and Baylor for round two. Fans can follow hole-by-hole scoring at www.Golfstat.com and can find all tournament information on the tournament central page by clicking here.

The 30-team field will be cut to eight teams after the third round of medalist play on Thursday. The final top eight will begin match-play on Friday in a single-elimination format. The title match will be played on Sunday, June 6 between the final two teams. The NCAA individual medalist will be crowned after the three rounds of stroke play on Thursday.