SJU tied for 4th at nationals

It wasn’t perfect, but senior Dennis Granath and the rest of his St. John’s teammates felt pretty good about the way things started at the Division III national golf meet Tuesday.

Granath shot a two-under-par score of 69 to finish the first day of the four-round event in second place and the Johnnies ended the day tied for fourth place as a team with an eight-over-par score of 292 during competition at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

St. John’s is actually in third place when it comes to total score after the first day. But because two courses are being used — with different teams playing on different courses each day — the par score is the measure of team rankings after the first round.

“We got off to a pretty solid start,” said Granath, whose team played the par 71 Raven Golf Course Tuesday, but will play the par 72 Links today. “We’re right where we need to be to stay in the hunt tomorrow and over the next few days. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow when we switch courses. How guys react to that. I think all of us felt we left a few shots out on the course today.”

Methodist (N.C.) leads the field after shooting a two-over-par score of 290 at the Links Tuesday. Transylvania (Kent.) is second with a four-over-par score of 288 shot at the Raven. Texas-Tyler is third with a five-over-par score of 293 shot at the Links. The Johnnies are tied with fellow MIAC member Gustavus, which shot an eight-over-par score of 296 at the Links. St. Thomas is tied with top-ranked Oglethorpe (Ga.) in 20th place after shooting a 26-over-par score of 310 at the Raven.

“I think we got off to a really good start today,” St. John’s coach Bob Alpers said. “All five of our guys played really well. Every one of them was solid and did what we asked them to do.”

Junior Casey Vangsness is tied for 15th after shooting a one-over-par score of 72. Classmate Tommy Koehler is tied for 27th place after shooting a three-over-par 74. Sophomore Drew Lynch is tied for 72nd place with a six-over-par score of 77. And sophomore Derek Brinker is tied for 107th place with an eight-over-par score of 79.

The field will be cut down from 41 to 15 teams after the second round today.

“We’re only going to get better as guys feel more and more comfortable,” said Vangsness, whose team entered the tournament ranked No. 3 in the nation. “I feel good with where we’re sitting right now.”

Frank Rajkowski

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