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Eagles in Logjam at Home Tournament

ronald uszenski hits out of the sand

HARRISONBURG, Va. - Competitive play across the board at the Eagles' home tournament, the Tom Kinder Memorial, resulted in a logjam after the first round- with just five strokes separating the third place team from the 10th place team. The host squad entered the final hole of the day in a tie for second, but four bogeys dropped them to eighth place. Despite the hiccup on the 18th hole, the Eagles' team score of 297 (+9) has them just seven strokes behind the leaders from McDaniel College.

"We actually were not very sharp most of the day today, but we held it together until the final hole," said head coach John Rogers,"and it shows the potential of this team that we are not very pleased with a respectable score of 297."

The Eagles were led by senior Ronald Uszenski, who started the day by driving the green on 336-yard opening hole and two-putting for a birdie. He added a birdie on the 6th hole to go to -2. With a bogey on the finishing hole of each nine, Uszenski came in with an even-par round of 72, which has him in a tie for sixth among 87 competitors.

Junior Jacob Laughlin also had his round under par early on, and he played the back nine even par, but a few missed putts led to a final tally of 74 strokes. Laughlin, coming of a fourth-place finish in his first event as an Eagle, sits in 19th place halfway through the Tom Kinder Memorial.

Freshman Jackson Soska, making his first appearance on the starting squad, was three-over par after four holes on the Mountain Course at Lakeview Golf Club, but when Coach Rogers asked him to "put his teeth into the round", Soska responded by playing the next ten holes at two-under par. Bogeys on the final two holes led to a total of 75, and the first-year player from Woodgrove High finds himself in a tie for 31st.

Junior Jason Spaar, coming off the first medal of his career (at Shenandoah last week), played a steady round with four bogeys and two birdies, but his second shot on the par-5 sixth hole bounced out of bounds, leading to a double-bogey. He posted 76 and currently sits in a tie for 41st.

Like fellow freshman Soska, Jacob Sears earned his first appearance in the starting lineup on Monday, and in most regards he played the most steady round on the team. He led the Eagles with fourteen pars in the first round, and he also had a birdie on the 11th hole. The trouble was early in the round when Sears hit two balls out of bounds on the long par-4 second hole and carded a quintuple-bogey score of 9. "I have to tip my hat to Jacob for keeping himself in the match after that mishap early in the round," said Rogers. "After the big number he responded by playing the next fifteen holes at even par." Sears finished with a score of 78.

Adding to the logjam of teams in the middle of the pack is a second squad from Bridgewater. The Eagles' placed both teams in the top-nine a week ago, and the same is true halfway through the home tournament. The Bridgewater 'B Team' posted 299 (believed to be the lowest B Team score in school history) and the second squad sits just two strokes behind the starting lineup.

The B Team was led by sophomore Seth Smallwood, who matched Sears' fourteen pars, and also had three birdies- with a single shot out of bounds on #10 leading to triple bogey and a total of 72. Smallwood is tied with Uszenski in sixth place.

Junior Brendan Draughn played the front nine at -1 and had four birdies on the day, with his only blemish coming on the final hole where he made double-bogey to shoot +2 (74). He is tied with Laughlin in 19th place.

Freshman Alex Czerwinski opened the day with seven straight pars and finished up his solid showing with a score of 76. Blake Sawyer came in one stroke behind Czerwinski after playing the back nine (the Lake Course) at just one stroke over par. And junior Matthew Sengul played the final six holes in one stroke over par to finish with an 80.

Strangely, the four strokes dropped on the final hole by the starting unit means that the two Bridgewater teams, sitting in eighth and ninth place, will be paired together for the final round on Tuesday when both teams will try to work their way through the bottleneck toward the leaders from McDaniel.

"It's great having so many talented players on this team," noted Rogers, "and time will help us solidify the starting lineup, but for now it's fun to get everyone playing time and see how things to shake out. The trick now is to go out and finish strong on our home course. Both of these teams are capable of finishing at the top or near the top of the leaderboard." The Eagles led the field with 58 pars on Monday and will look to eliminate the big numbers during the second round.

Play resumes Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. and live scoring is available at: http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=18400.