OCU grabs early lead in defense of NAIA Championship

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SALEM, Ore. – Defending champion Oklahoma City University carded a first-round 280 and grabbed an early in the NAIA Championships at Creekside Golf Club.

Four Stars finished the first round at even par or under to give OCU an eight-stroke lead over Grand View (Iowa) after one round of play. Johnson and Wales (Fla.), Bellevue (Neb.) and Faulkner (Ala.) all finished 14 shots behind OCU in a tie for third place.

Freshman Anthony Marchesani fired 68 in the first round to claim the top spot. Senior Sondre Ronold followed with a round-one 69 to earn a share of second place with Colin Brennan of Johnson and Wales (Fla.).

“The guys stuck to our game plan, didn’t try to force anything and played well today,” OCU coach Kyle Blaser said. “We have better golf in us and we are looking for more, but I’m proud of the guy’s start and look forward to the rest of the week.”
Teams saw temperatures in the 50s and 60s with a light wind out of the north on the first day of competition.

Marchesani, of Rosebud, Victoria, Australia, holed five birdies, including three on the back nine, to finish four under par on the day. Ronold, of Stavanger, Norway, birdied the first four holes and finished the day at three under.

Senior Michael Palmer, of Johannesburg, South Africa, carded a round-one 71 to tie for eighth place. Palmer holed four birdies on the day and finished at one under.

James Marchesani, a junior from Rosebud, Victoria, Australia, shot 72 and finished the first round in a tie for 13th place. Marchesani made four birdies to finish the day at even par.

Oswin Schlenkrich, a freshman from Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa, birdied holes 12 and 16 and finished with a round-one 81.

The Stars will return to action in the second round of the NAIA Championships at 2:50 p.m. CDT at Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore.

Live scoring for the tournament will be available here. Sunset in Salem, the post-round wrap-up show, will air at 8 p.m. CDT and will be available here.

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Ken MacLeod

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