Campbell in control early at Golfweek Program Challenge

Campbell in control early at Golfweek Program Challenge

College

Campbell in control early at Golfweek Program Challenge

Scores: Men | Women

• • •

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. – The Golfweek Program Challenge has long been a boon for Campbell, and that didn’t change Sunday.

The Camels fired a 19-under 269 at True Blue Golf Club in the opening round to take an early seven-shot lead in the men’s division over Delaware. The women’s group posted a 1-under 283 at Caledonia Golf and Fish Club to put itself in second, one off the lead held by Old Dominion.

This tournament is unique, offering a men’s team champion, a women’s team champion but also a combined winner based on the program with the best combined men’s and women’s team scores. There are 14 programs in attendance this year, but Campbell had to be the clear favorite for that crown entering the event.

The Camels have captured the combined title in five of six showings at the event between 2011 and 2016 (also earning the women’s title in three of those triumphs).

The tournament was cancelled last year due to Hurricane Irma, but the Camels didn’t skip a beat Sunday.

With the combination of a huge lead on the men’s side and runner-up position in the women’s division, Campbell is 20 under in the combined scores category and has opened up a 13-shot cushion there over Old Dominion.

The men were paced in the opening round by Jesper Svensson, a senior from Sweden.

Svensson didn’t enter the season opener with much to smile about, as he self-admittedly played mediocre in qualifying as he battled swing issues.

He was getting behind in his backswing, which led to a flip and a lot of left misses. While Svensson focused on more hip rotation to ameliorate the problem, he didn’t really gain back his mojo until Sunday’s opening round.

He didn’t hit the ball terrific but seemingly out of nowhere birdied eight of his first 17 holes and fired a 7-under 65 for the early lead by one in the individual race.

Svensson pointed to a hot putter in aiding the day, but clearly his fire was back as well.

“I’ve been in a very bad spot in my game,” Svensson said. “So it felt good putting in a good score, get some confidence back.”

He may’ve gone the deepest, but Svensson wasn’t the only Camels player making noise.

Every counting starter on the men’s side fired a sub-par round. Ray Kraivixien posted a bogey-free 67 to sit in a tie for fourth, as did Pontus Nyholm. Max Theodorakis pieced together an opening 70 despite three straight bogeys in the middle of his round.

Isabell Ekstrom posted a bogey-free 4-under 67 at Caledonia to lead the individual race on the women’s side by two. Anna Nordfors (T-7, even par) and Emily Hawkins (T-9, 1 over) are also in the top 10 on the individual leaderboard.

Clearly, something continues to click in these parts for the Camels. John Crooks, in his 29th season as men’s head coach and 28th at the women’s helm, didn’t get the chance last year to continue Campbell’s triumphs at this event,

But they’ve returned in 2018 and are quite happy to be here.

“(Coach) loves winning and he loves coming back to tournaments that we’re winning,” Svensson said, with a smile.

So far, so good.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home