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GSU trails 1st-place Gators by 3

    OCALA, Fla. — The Georgia Southern Eagles began the 2011 NCAA Southeast Regional by shooting a first-round 285 (-3) for a fifth-place tie with Oregon on Thursday.
    Senior Logan Blondell led the GSU charge with a 3-under 69 to go into the second round in a tie for eighth place.
    Florida, playing host to the 14-team field at the par-72, 6,994-yard Golden Ocala Golf Club, leads the tournament with a 6-under 282.
    Oregon’s Jack Dukeminier sits atop the individual standings with a 6-under 66.
    “We got off to a good start and we are now one third of the way through,” said Head Coach Larry Mays. “Logan’s 69 was a good round and Florian [Sander] had three incredible up-and-downs around the course today. Hayden [Anderson] and Matt [Deal] also played very well today. We did our job today and need to do that the rest of the way to advance. Our team had four good rounds today, but we are going to need eight more solid rounds to have a shot at going to the next level.”
    Georgia Southern tied its best opening round score to par at an NCAA Regional in program history at 3-under. The previous best round came in 2005 when the Eagles shot a 3-under 281 at the par-71 Country Club of Tennessee to open the NCAA East Regional that season. The 18 holes played by GSU on Thursday also marks the second-consecutive outing that the Eagles have carded one of their three lowest rounds of the season.
    “We are focused and have the mentality that we want to play our best golf at the end of the year,” stated Mays on the team’s performance so far. “They set some goals and want to achieve them. They are relaxed and having fun which leads to good scores.”
    Only four teams are in front of Georgia Southern, the 2011 Southern Conference Champion, as the second round of the 54-hole tournament resumes today.
    The Eagles are three strokes behind Florida (-6) and two off of second-place Arkansas (-5). Baylor and N.C. State are tied for third place at 4-under. The top five teams in the regional advance to the NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., May 31-June 5. 
    Georgia Southern is paired with Oregon and N.C. State for the second round. Lewis Gruber tees off first for the Eagles at 8:50 a.m. on hole No. 1.

1. Florida                   -6
2. Arkansas               -5
T3. Baylor                 -4
T3. NC State             -4
T5. Georgia Southern  -3
T5. Oregon                 -3
7. Notre Dame             E
T8. Kennesaw State    +2
T8. Augusta State        +2
T8. SE Louisiana         +2
T11. Missouri              +6
T11. Jacksonville State +6
13. UCF                     +10
14. Jackson State        +37