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Men's Golf Team Opens Spring Season Among the Leaders

ronald uszenski lines up a putt

HILTON HEAD, S.C. - The Bridgewater men's golf team opened the spring portion of its season on Monday at Hilton Head Lakes. On a course that was already wet before an inch and a half of rain overnight, the Eagles overcame the sloppy, cool conditions to post a team score of 312, good for third place, and only two shots off of the lead among D-III teams.

While the Eagles might not normally be thrilled by a score of 312, the showing was strong enough to give them an edge over four D-III teams who have better national rankings, as well as a D-II team. Junior Ronald Uszenski also led four Bridgewater players who placed in the top-15 after the first round. Uszenski's 76 put him in a tie for fifth place.

"Ronnie was not excited by his round today," said head coach John Rogers, "but conditions were challenging, he has been working on a change in his swing plane, and it was the first competitive round since October- so it was a better round than he gives himself credit for." Uszenski reached the par-5 12th hole in two shots to make a birdie and also hit it within a foot of the hole on #17 for a second birdie.

Despite dropping a few strokes in the middle of the round, sophomore Jason Spaar posted a 77, which has him in a tie for ninth place at the half-way mark. Spaar was steady early in the round, but when he started missing greens on the back-nine he needed something to hold the round together- that came on the 16th hole, a par-5. Spaar was just left of the green in regulation, but managed to chip in for birdie. Among D-III players, Spaar is in sixth place.

Senior Eugene Dillon, appearing in the starting lineup for the first time in over a year, shot 79 to put up the third score for the Eagles. He also birdied the par-5 16th hole, and he also sits among the top-10 of D-III players, tied for 12th in the overall field. "We are starting the spring season without our leading scorer from the fall season, and EJ is likely the guy we will lean on to fill the gap," noted Rogers. "His experience and leadership will be integral in this, his final semester."

Sophomore Brendan Draughn turned in the final number for the team score, an 80 that put him in a tie for 15th among the 43 players in the field.

Senior Michael Gruver shot 89 on Monday with an eagle on the 12th hole, while freshman Seth Smallwood posted an 83 playing as an individual.

After the first round, the Eagles are trailing only Mars Hill, a D-II team that shot 292, and Baldwin Wallace, who shot 310. Play will resume on Tuesday at 9:30 as Bridgewater will look to finish atop the seven D-III teams in the field.