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Eagles Improve at Royal Lakes

jason spaar tees off at royal lakes

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - The Bridgewater Eagles improved on their first round score by eight strokes at the Oglethorpe/Royal Lakes Fall Invitational, but were not able to move up the leaderboard primarily because of two tough holes on the back nine.

Junior Ronald Uszenski and freshman Seth Smallwood helped the team to get off to a good start on Tuesday as they both turned one-under par, at which time the team was only five-over par total. Uszenski rolled in an eight-foot eagle putt on the par-5 third hole to lead the charge. Smallwood added birdies on the 3rd and 6th holes to create some momentum for the Eagles. Meanwhile, sophomore Jason Spaar was two-under par through his first six holes as well.

Through 12 holes, the Eagles were still just five-over par total, and were making headway on the field, when they hit the difficult stretch of holes in the middle of the back nine. Smallwood took a quintuple bogey on the 13th hole, a par-4 that features a hazard on the left and a tree lined hill on the right. The rest of the team dropped three more strokes on the challenging hole.

The 14th hole at Royal Lakes is a par-3 with a water-carry that played 180 yards during the second round. The Eagles dropped four more strokes on that hole after two balls found the hazard, and suddenly the team had gone from 5-over to 17-over in two holes.

Smallwood went on to shoot 80 despite the difficulties on #13, an 11-shot improvement over his first round. Uszenski lost three strokes in that tough stretch of holes, but held on to shoot 75.

Spaar was not very pleased with his ball-striking at this tournament, but he managed his game on Tuesday, making five birdies on his way to a team-leading score of 73. Spaar is currently averaging three shots better than his total in 2017-18.

Freshman A.J. Stouffer had a similar round to the one on Monday- he was 6-over par through eight holes, but rallied to play the last 11 holes at just two-over par, including birdies on #10 and #18.

Sophomore Brendan Draughn followed his first round score of 77 with an 83 today. Draughn played steadily on the back nine, but also gave up two strokes in the middle of the inward nine where the rest of the team ran into trouble.

All told, the Eagles were able to shave eight strokes from their first round score to post a team total of 308, which left them in 15th place among 18 teams in this nationally competitive tournament.

"Early in the day, we were off to as good of a start as any team in this very strong field, but we hit a couple big bumps in the road on the way in," said head coach John Rogers. "I was pleased that the guys made progress today, and we were two holes from shooting the kind of score we have proven that we are capable of shooting."

Greensboro came from seven strokes back to tie Babson for the championship, with both teams shooting a two-day total of 584.

The Eagles are back in action in mid-October at the VSGA Collegiate Championship at Sleepy Hole Golf Course in Suffolk, Virginia.