KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Newberry sits in fifth position after the first 18 holes of the NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championships Monday at two strokes over par, led by a three-under 67 from sophomore Harry Bolton.
Bolton's round on the par-70 layout featured four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine. His magnificent third shot on the par-five, 554-yard 17th landed within two feet of the cup. He tapped in for his sixth birdie to bring him back to three-under for the round. Bolton is currently in a tie for third place on the leaderboard, two shots back of Florida Southern's John Coultas.
Bolton's 67 sets the Newberry record for fewest strokes in an NCAA Championship round and ties the school record for lowest score relative to par at three under. The round is a career-low for the Canberra, Australia native, equaling a mark set at the UNG Fall Invitational in October, and represents Newberry's third-lowest round of the season.
Carlos Leandro hit a nearly identical shot on No. 17 two pairings later that allowed the nation's 12th-ranked player to finish his round at one stroke over par. He had three birdies on the day on his way to a 27th-place finish.
Spencer Skiff and Evan DeGrazia were tied for 35th at two shots over par. Skiff birdied the 18th hole to end his round on a high note. DeGrazia's only birdie came on the par-four 14th, where he became one of just two golfers on the day to finish the hole under par. His consistent round featured 14 pars. Ben Thompson recovered from a rocky start to shoot one-over on the back nine and land at seven over for the day.
Each of the top five teams in the standings hail from the South/Southeast Regional. Third-ranked Barry leads all teams at six under par, two shots clear of top-ranked West Florida. Sixth-ranked Florida Tech is third at three under, with No. 4 Florida Southern two shots ahead of Newberry in fourth place at even par. The Wolves finished sixth in Regional play to earn their bid to the national finals.
Twenty teams are competing in the event. The top eight after 54 holes will advance to match play, with quarterfinals and semifinals slated for Thursday. North Alabama and St. Thomas Aquinas are currently tied for eighth place at seven over par. Le Moyne and Ferris State are sixth and seventh, respectively.
Newberry begins second round play on the 10th tee at 12:55 p.m. Tuesday.