SUFFOLK, Va. - The Bridgewater men's golf team has had a tendency to play each nine of the golf course very differently so far this season, and that trend held true at Sleepy Hole Golf Course on Monday in the first round of the VSGA Intercollegiate Championship.
Playing out of order due to a shotgun start, the Eagles played the front nine just one stroke over par, but the more challenging back nine got them for 21 strokes. The team total of 310 placed Bridgewater in seventh place among sixteen teams with one round to play.
Senior Michael Gruver, who has scrapped for playing time the past two seasons, qualified this week and provided one of the more steady rounds for the Eagles on Monday. Gruver led the team in birdies (four), played the front nine at two strokes under par, and posted a 78.
"I was thrilled for Michael to earn some playing time this week," said head coach John Rogers. "He is a true team leader even when he's not qualifying- he's one of our only seniors, he has the best grades on the squad, and he is an all-around example for our younger players. He's also a team captain. It's great to see some birdies and solid scores resulting from his hard work."
Sophomore Jason Spaar led the way in the first round of the VSGA tournament, posting a 75 during which he was even on the front and three over par on the back nine. The steady-playing Spaar never had higher than a bogey, and with this round he has taken over the team scoring lead at 74.33 strokes per round. Spaar sits in a tie for 13th among 93 players.
Freshman A.J. Stouffer overcame the wind and challenges on the back nine long enough to make three birdies, but he dropped five strokes on holes #14 and #17 and finished with a 78.
Junior Ronald Uszenski rounded out the team score with a 79. Mirroring the rest of the team, Uszenski was only one over par on the front, but followed it with a 42 on the back nine.
Sophomore Brendan Draughn posted an 86. Freshman Seth Smallwood, playing as an individual, had three birdies and was the only Eagle to play the as well on the back nine as the front nine en route to an 84.
The Eagles, who generally have a team goal of scoring under 300, now have three rounds on the season better than that mark, and three higher. Randolph Macon shot 298 to lead the way on Monday, and Sebastian Bonte of Mary Washington shot 69 (-3) to set the pace for the individual medal.
Play resumes at Sleepy Hole at 9 a.m. Tuesday.