PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. –- Campbell took the first step in defending its overall title Sunday at the Golfweek Program Challenge.
The Camels lead the women’s tournament by 14 strokes over second-place Boston College while the men are second, one shot behind leader James Madison.
“You have to play your best because all the other teams are trying to do the same thing we are, shoot low and get in first,” said sophomore Brooke Bellomy, who shot a team-best, 3-under 68 at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club.
She leads four other Campbell women in the top 14. Tahnia Ravnjak is T-3 at 1 under, and Lisbeth Brooks, Kaylin Yost and Teresa Urquizu notched rounds of 75 or better.
While the Camels lead the women’s field at 2 over, the men shot 6-under 282 at True Blue Plantation. Grant Houser carded the team’s best score, a 4-under 68, and Amanjyot Singh and Mikko Lehtovouri both finished T-7.
It’s a tight race on the men’s side with eight teams within nine strokes of each other. A year after finishing ninth at this event, James Madison heads that pack thanks to solid rounds by Ryan Vince and Trey Smith, who shot 67 and 68, respectively.
“I had all these guys last year and they really didn’t show up,” James Madison head coach Jeff Forbes said. “I knew they had it in them, but they kind of fell apart near the end.
“This year, we’ve come out and played exceptionally well.”
Vince is in second place, two strokes behind individual leader Kyle Driscoll, a redshirt freshman who shot 7-under 65 in his first collegiate round. Driscoll made eight birdies, including one on his first hole – the par-5 10th.
“It was pretty cool starting the college career out with a nice birdie there,” Driscoll said. “After that I just kind of grooved it throughout the entire round. . . . Can’t complain too much about this one.”
Leading the women’s individual standings is Troy’s Sofia Bjorkman, who shot 4-under 67 to help her team to third place after the first round.
“I feel like my game is there,” Bjorkman said. “It’s just never been this low.”
She was one of just four players to shoot under par at Caledonia. In contrast, 18 players shot under par at True Blue, although they weren’t nearly as low as they were last year.
Still, last year’s event ended in dramatic fashion with Campbell winning the overall title in a playoff. Expect some more excitement these next two days.