by Benny Benton
SNOW HILL, N.C. – The Barton College men's golf team put itself in position to fight for a league crown on Sunday after posting the second-best score in round one of the 2017 Conference Carolinas Men's Golf Tournament at Cutter Creek Golf Club.
The Bulldogs combined for a team score of 303 on the nearly 7,200-yard, par-72 Cutter Creek layout under difficult scoring conditions. Barton topped everyone in the nine-team field except nationally-ranked No. 20 Limestone College, which holds a six-stroke lead after the first round.
Barton leads No. 22 Belmont Abbey College and University of Mount Olive by two strokes. King University and North Greenville University are tied for fifth place, just one more shot back.
The Bulldogs were paced on Sunday by sophomores Scott Pechacek and Justin Plane, who both produced rounds of 3-over par 75. Pechacek, a Cary, N.C., resident, had two birdies on the day while Plane, a resident of Whitby, Canada, collected three birdies. Derek Hamm followed with a 76, Travis Broome added a 77 and Turner Garris carded a 79.
Pechacek and Plane are tied for seventh in the field of 45, while Hamm is tied for 14th, Broome is tied for 19th and Garris is tied for 30th.
Just one player in the field broke par, Limestone's Will Woodard, who posted a 71. He leads teammate Cabrick Waters by one shot and a pair of golfers by two strokes. League Player of the Year and nationally-ranked No. 15 individual Nick Stafford lurks three shots off the pace after an opening 74.
The men will tee off in round two beginning at 8:16 a.m. on Monday. The third and found round is scheduled for Tuesday morning, weather permitting.