September 26, 2011

Rish in Contention as Saints Battle Weather in Florida

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL - The North Georgia men's golf team had to sweat out a long opening day at the 2011 Jay Jennison Memorial Tournament contested at the par-72 Palencia Golf Club, hosted by the Peach Belt's Flagler College.

The Saints opened the first round to blistering heat before having to wait out a lightning delay that would cause the second round to end early on Monday evening. North Georgia was scheduled to play the first two rounds of the tournament on Monday and conclude with the third round on Tuesday, but mother nature had other plans, halting play in the middle of the second round at 4:05 Eastern Standard Time.

Despite the conditions, the Saints shot an aggregate score of 302 (14-over-par) to sit in sole possession of eighth place during the opening round.

Three of the five Peach Belt schools competing are in the top 10 after day one of the tournament. Setting the pace for the PBC was Armstrong Atlantic with an aggregate score of 291, while Wingate sits just one stroke behind. Eckerd, Flagler and Wilmington (Del.) round out the top five heading into day two of the tournament.

With their opening round 302, the Saints are just 11 shots behind Armstrong and look poised to make a move in day two as they did earlier this month in South Carolina at the Kiawah Island Invitational.

North Georgia holds a one shot lead over ninth place Valdosta State and sit just six strokes behind fifth place Wilmington.

Armstrong Atlantic's Cory Griffin holds a narrow one-shot lead over Daniel Ott of Wilmington after shooting an opening round score of four-under-par 68. Jeff Evanier of Eckerd sits in third, two shots off the pace, while Saint Leo's Nick Brothers and Paul Tighe of Wilmington are tied in fourth place.

Leading the way for the Saints was sophomore Grant Rish, who fired off his lowest career round as a member of the North Georgia golf team, shooting an even-par 72 to sit in a nine-man tie for sixth place overall. Rish recorded four birdies in his opening round, including back-to-back birdies to close out the round.

In his first collegiate tournament, Aaron George fired a two-over-par 74. George also carded four birdies in his opening round. George recovered from a triple bogey on the par 4 seventh with back-to-back birdies on eight and nine to close out his first round as a member of the Saints. George sits in a tie for 22nd place heading into day two.

Howard Duffin had a tough first round for North Georgia, shooting a five-over-par 77. Duffin was the last member of the Saints to tee off and opened his round with a par, back-to-back bogey's, consecutive pars, and a double bogey. After that rough stretch, Duffin found his stride with two consecutive pars and the first of his two birdies for the round. Duffin sits in a tie for 39th place after the first round.

The last member of the Saints to score on day two was Bryson Womack, who carded a seven-over-par 79, leaving him in a tie for 54th place. Womack also had a rough start to his round with a bogey on his first hole. Womack recorded two birdies on the day, but also had four bogeys. Matt Rochlin fired 44's on both sides during the opening round for an 88 and sole possession of 78th place in the field.

The Saints will finish the second round Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. as they will be shuttled to where the left off this afternoon when the weather horn sounded. Following completion of the second round, the players will go straight into the third and final round to conclude the 54-hole event.

For complete on-course updates throughout the day, follow live tweets through the official North Georgia Athletics Twitter that can be found @SaintsSports.