St. Simons Island, Ga. – The College of Coastal Georgia men's golf team is tied for the lead after the opening round Monday in the Coastal Georgia Winter Invitational.
The Mariners opened their annual home tournament with a 306 score in the first round which was played in strong wind to grab a share of the overnight lead with Emmanuel College which also opened with a 306.
Coastal Georgia is the defending champion in the tournament which is played on the Sea Island Golf Club's Retreat Course and traditionally is the first event for the Mariners in the spring season.
The Mariners, who are ranked 11th to start the spring, and the Lions lead by one over Reinhardt and Faulkner which both shot 307 on Monday. Faulkner is also in the Southern States Athletic Conference along with Coastal Georgia. North Georgia rounds out the top five with a 308 score.
The unofficial tournament leader on Monday was Coastal Georgia's B team which shot 304 but is not eligible for the tournament championship as schools can officially only have one team in the field. These Coastal Georgia players and others competing alone are eligible for the individual championship, however.
"We qualified for this tournament, so that's how we had the A and B teams," said Coastal Georgia coach Mike Cook. "We kind of struggled today. Everyone did, although a few players here and there did conquer the winds. One of those was Taylor Guilbeau for us with his 72.
"I think our kids also might have been a little nervous with this being the first tournament since the fall. We didn't get off to a good start, but some of our guys held it together pretty well. Tomorrow the wind should be back down and the course will play in our favor a little more, hopefully. And hopefully, our guys will be a little more comfortable."
Joe Bannan from Thomas University and Peter Peng from Faulkner both shot 1-under 71 to share the individual lead after the first 18 holes. The co-leaders were the only ones to break par on Monday.
Coastal Georgia's Guilbeau is currently solo third with his even-par 72 score while competing for the Mariners' B team.
For Coastal Georgia's A team, Seth Sanders and Harrison Stafford both shot 76 for the team's low round. Paxton Shuman and Lauri Hacklin both shot 77. Eamon Owen shot 78, but his score did not count toward the team total which includes the top four scores in each round.
Tuesday's second round is scheduled to begin with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.