INDIANAPOLIS – The Hanover men's golf team opened up the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship in successful fashion Saturday afternoon, as a team score of 306 has the squad in third after the first of four tournament rounds.
The Panthers, who returned to the Fort Golf Resort for the first time September 2017, placed all five of its golfers inside the top 20 Saturday. Hanover is also just one back of Mt. St. Joseph (305) for second and 14 strokes behind the tournament leader, Transylvania (292).
A pair of Panthers are tied for eighth after 18 holes, including senior Tony Rogers (Indianapolis, Ind.), who is competing in his fourth HCAC Championship. Behind a back-nine 37, which included a birdie on 18, Rogers finished with a score of 76.
Also posting a scorecard of 76 Saturday was sophomore Bradley Murray (Carmel, Ind.). Murray was two-under on the par fives Saturday and is currently tied for second in the field in par four scoring average, 4.10.
Joining Murray in their first HCAC Championship were sophomores Austin Zapp (Union, Ky.) and freshman Garrett Valentine (Elizabethtown, Ky.), who each logged an 18-hole total of 77. Zapp led the team with 13 pars and finished the final five holes of his front-nine 37 at one-under-par. Valentine recorded a team-best three birdies in round one, all of which came in a six-hole stretch, spanning hole Nos. 6-11. Zapp and Valentine are tied for 13th overall.
Rounding out the Panther scoring and also competing in his first conference tournament is freshman Aaron Wade (Loveland, Ohio). Wade finished strong, going two-under over his final four holes to finish with a 79, which is good enough for a T-18. The freshman birdied 15 and 16 and parred 17 and 18 during his stellar finish.
Hanover will conclude the opening weekend of the HCAC Championship at the Fort Golf Resort Sunday, April 29. The final two rounds will then take place next weekend, May 5 and 6, in Defiance, Ohio at Eagle Rock Golf Club. The winner of the league meet will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III National Championship, which takes place May 15-18.
Contact: Tyler Jester