by Tyler Peck, sports information graduate
COLUMBUS, Ga. - The No. 1 Bobcat golf team finds themselves 15 strokes back of leader No. 8 University of North Alabama at the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational, where eight of the top-10 teams are playing this week.
Georgia College is tied with Peach Belt Conference (PBC) member and host No. 2 Columbus State University as well as Carson-Newman College at 14th with a team score of 295 (+11). Barton College, Newberry College and the University of West Georgia were unable to finish their first round due to excessive rain delaying the start of the tournament.
Georgia College was led by junior classmates Billy Shida (Berkeley Lakes, Ga.) and Joe Young (Cochran, Ga.) who both fired 73 (+2) on the first round of play at the par-71, 6,435-yard Green Island Country Club. Shida and Young are both tied at 40th place.
Senior Niclas Johansson (Skanor, Sweden) is tied at 50th after shooting a plus-three 74 in today's opening round. Classmate Francisco Bide (Buenos Aires, Argentina) finished with a plus-four 75 and is tied at 62nd. Redshirt-freshman Taylor Smith (Mansfield, Ga.) placed 76th with a first round 76 (+5).
UNA owns the team lead at four-under (280), one of just two teams under par in the first round. The individual race is led by Lander University's Bryan Newton at four-under as well (67), holding off a quartet of golfers by just one stroke.
The Bobcats find themselves outside of the top-10 after the opening round for the first time this fall season and look to bounce back tomorrow (Oct. 6) in the tourney's final round.
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Georgia College prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.