ETSU tied for eighth, Gradecki sixth at NCAA College Grove Regional
COLLEGE GROVE, Tenn. – Mateusz Gradecki may not have like how things started, but the Buccaneer senior finished strong en route to turning an average round into a solid start following day one of the NCAA College Grove Regional on Monday from The Grove Club.
Gradecki bogeyed his opening hole on the par-4, 404-yard No. 10, but the all-conference golfer stayed patient and eagled his third-to-last hole (par-5, 570-yard No. 7) of the afternoon to finish with a 3-under-par 69. A birdie on the par-4, 385-yard No. 14 gave Gradecki momentum as he moved back to even, which is where he remained when making the turn to the first tee box. From there, Gradecki carded back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 before giving a shot back on the par-3, 210-yard No. 3. Following three straight pars, Gradecki chipped in from 20 yards out for eagle to finish the round with a 69, which puts him only three shots off the lead.
Gradecki is in a six-way tie for sixth and only three shots off the lead as Vanderbilt's Patrick Martin (No. 9 via Golfstat) and Clemson's Bryson Nimmer (No. 46 via Golfstat) are tied for first at 6-under-par 66. Martin and Nimmer – who matched the best collegiate tournament round in the history of The Grove – hold a one-shot advantage over UCF's Manuel Elvira and Troy's Cam Norman, while Kennesaw State's Jake Fendt is two shots back at 4-under 68.
ETSU shot a 7-over-par 295 on day one and is tied for eighth with No. 35 Lipscomb and TCU. The Buccaneers are ahead of No. 25 Missouri (+8) and No. 11 Texas Tech (+11) and one shot back of No. 23 Georgia (+6) and seven strokes behind No. 12 Clemson – who is in fifth at even-par 288. The top five teams in each regional advance to the NCAA Championship.
Tournament host and top-ranked Vanderbilts hold the team lead at 9-under-par 279. The Commodores lead No. 47 UCF by six shots and Troy by seven stokes. No. 34 Kennesaw State is in fourth at 1-under-par 287.
In addition to Gradecki, the Bucs also got countable scores from junior Cayman Ratliff and freshmen Trevor Hulbert and Kevin Burns. Ratliff – who was even through his first 11 holes – is tied for 34th at 2-over-par 74. Following a triple-bogey on No. 3, Ratliff bounced back with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 to finish on a positive note. Hulbert and Burns are both tied for 45th at 4-over-par 76. Hulbert was even with three holes remaining in the round, but he carded a triple-bogey on No. 7 and bogeyed the par-4, 414-yard No. 8 en route to finishing with his 76. Burns – who birdied two of his first five holes – was even-par heading into his final four holes, but the Buccaneer ended with a triple-bogey (No. 7), two bogeys and a birdie.
The Bucs will be grouped with Georgia and TCU in round two as the Blue and Gold tee off from No. 10 beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET.
Wofford's Novak tied for 45th at NCAA College Grove Regional
COLLEGE GROVE, Tenn. – Wofford golfer Andrew Novak shot 76 in Monday's opening round of the NCAA men's golf regionals and is one of nine players tied for 45th place. Novak, the top seeded individual in the field, is playing in the College Grove regional in College Grove, Tennessee. The three-day, 54-hole tournament is being played at The Grove Club, a par-72 course that plays 7,383 yards.
The senior, the 89th-ranked NCAA golfer, was the model of consistency on the front nine. Novak made par on seven of the first nine holes, with a birdie on the par-5 No. 2 and a bogey on the par-3 third hole, and made the turn at even-par. The back nine proved to be more challenging. After making par on No. 10, Novak bogeyed the next four holes. However, the native of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, finished with four pars to card a 4-over-par 76.
The tournament continues Tuesday and Wednesday. Six 54-hole regional tournaments are being conducted May 15-17. Three regionals, including the College Grove regional, have 13 teams and 10 individuals not on those teams while the other three regional sites have 14 teams and five individuals not on those teams. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the finals.
Novak will tee off of No. 10 at 10:50 a.m. Eastern time with Aurian Capart of Harvard and Daniel Racioppa of Alcorn State.