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Eagles in Fifth Place at Keller Memorial

jason spaar takes an iron shot at the ted keller memorial

HANOVER, Va. - The first round of the Ted Keller Memorial tournament hosted by Randolph Macon College was completed today at Hanover Country Club, and the Eagles opened with a team score of 309 that put them in fifth place with one round to go.

On a blustery day that saw the last remnants of Hurricane Nate the Eagles were led by freshman Jason Spaar, who bogied four of his first eight holes (starting on #10) but then played the rest of the round at even par. His 4-over par total of 74 put Spaar in a tie for 5th place.

"I can't say enough about the round Jason played today," said head coach John Rogers. "He has been working on some swing changes, and it can be tough to compete while doing that- but he managed his round beautifully, he scrambled well, and his maturity and demeanor on the course are way beyond the norm for a first-year collegiate player."

Spaar had at least two par-saves after his tee shot found the trees, when he punched out, hit a wedge onto the green and made a great putt for the save. He also had birdies on the second and ninth holes (his back nine).

Senior Luke Hill was 6-over par (76) for his round, but he played even better than the score indicates- he had a double-bogey and a triple-bogey as a result of hitting his approach shot so pure that the ball flew completely over the green and into trouble. Hill birdied the 6th and 12th holes, and he is in a tie for 11th among 69 players.

Senior Ocean Armstrong provided the third score for the Eagles and his 79 has him in a tie for 26th. Armstrong struggled to find his ball-striking early in the round, but scrambled to keep the score in check. "When you get the ball spinning in this kind of wind, things get tough," noted Rogers, "but Ocean is a very talented and hard-working player, and he knows how to bounce back."

Senior Jake Norby, playing on the "first team" for the first time this season, was five over par through five holes, and eight over at the turn, but he turned things around by playing the next six holes at one under par. A double-bogey on the final hole gave Norby a total of 80, and a share of the 31st place in the field.

Sophomore Ronald Uszenski struck the ball well most of the way around the tough layout at Hanover Country Club but was not confident with his putter today. His total of 82 strokes puts him in 43rd place.

Senior Matthew Padgett, playing as an individual, shot 90.

Halfway through the Ted Keller, the Eagles are 10 shots behind the co-leaders from Franklin & Marshall and Gettysburg, and they trail Virginia Wesleyan and Mary Washington by eight and four strokes respectively. They are ahead of eight other teams.

"I saw some patience and course-management from our team today that I hope will pay off, either tomorrow or in the weeks ahead," said Rogers. "This team is definitely capable of contending for the victory in some of these tournaments, and if we can just execute some of our techniques and strategies a little better, we will head back to Bridgewater to ring that bell."

The final round starts at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday.