PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. – Campbell’s Lisbeth Brooks and Western Carolina’s J.T. Poston combined to miss just one green in regulation Sunday at the Golfweek Program Challenge.
As a result, they each find themselves atop their respective individual leaderboards.
Brooks made three birdies and just one bogey, at No. 4 after missing her only green of the round. She finished with a 2-under 69 at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club.
“I was trying to keep it in the fairway and (on the) greens, keep it simple, and it worked out,” said Brooks.
Brooks, a junior, was one of two players in the top three spots on the leaderboard for the Camels, who lead Western Carolina by three shots at 6-over 290. Redshirt junior Ali Prazak, who had her score count in a collegiate event for the first time, shot 1-under 70 and is tied for second with Stetson’s Jenna Hoecker.
“I finally feel like my game is at the level that I want it to be at, and to come out in my first tournament and shoot under par feels pretty good,” Prazak said.
Campbell is trying to win a second straight women’s title at this event. The Camels won by 40 shots last year.
“Knowing that we won by 40 shots last year gives us that much more confidence,” Brooks said. “We all obviously feel good here.”
Poston hit every green in regulation – and missed just one fairway – en route to a bogey-free 6-under 66 at True Blue Plantation.
“I was thinking about that, I’m trying to think if I’ve ever done it before,” Poston said of his perfect greens-in-regulation performance. “It’s the first time I’ve done it in a tournament.”
The junior, who finished T-9 in this event last year as a sophomore, made just one birdie in his first nine holes after starting on tee No. 10. But a birdie at the par-5 first hole, where Poston sank a 20-foot putt, began a stretch of five birdies in seven holes.
“I didn’t really make anything on my first nine, but I was hitting the ball good, just kind of waiting for a few putts to drop,” said Poston, who is searching for his first collegiate victory after a pair of runner-up finishes last season. “I started seeing a few putts drop, so that got the momentum going.”
James Madison holds the first-round lead in the men’s tournament for the second straight season. The Dukes, led by Poom Pattaropong’s 5-under 67, shot 8-under 280 as a team and hold a four-shot advantage over Northern Iowa. Akron (285), IUPUI (285) and Jacksonville State (286) posted team scores under par.
“We really can’t get ahead of ourselves,” James Madison coach Jeff Forbes said. “Last year, we had a good first round and then didn’t keep pace the next two rounds.”
Pattaropong made eight birdies, including six on his front nine. He also had three bogeys, all of which came in his first nine holes, as well.
“I was very shocked when he told me he hadn’t had a par yet and we were standing on No. 11 (tee),” Forbes said.
Last year’s men’s medalist, Trey Smith of James Madison, shot 3-under 69. Jacksonville State’s Tomasz Anderson, who won the individual crown two years ago, carded a 70.
As far as the overall program championship race goes, James Madison is a combined 6 over, five shots better than Jacksonville State and Western Carolina. Campbell, which is trying for a third straight overall program title, is 15 over.