GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Pioneer men's golf team posted back-to-back rounds of 303 to shoot a 36-hole total 606 and are in third place after day one action of the 25th annual Tusculum Invitational. The two-day, 54-hole tournament is being held at the par-71, 6,763-yard Link Hills Country Club.
The Pioneers are seven shots behind tournament leader Walters State as the Senators sit at 599 and have a six-shot lead over second place Shorter University (605).
Tusculum senior Brandon Alexander is tied for second place with a three-over par 145 and is four shots behind leader Caleb Brown of Spartanburg Methodist at 141 (-1) including an opening round 69 for the only sub-70 score of the day.
Walters State's Alex Hodge is tied for second with Alexander with 145, while fellow Senator Trey Tobias is fourth with back-to-back rounds of 73 for his 146 (+4). TC senior David Whinery, who is playing on the Tusculum B squad, has sole possession of fifth place with 74-73=147 (+5).
In the team competition, Spartanburg Methodist is fourth with 608 while the Tusculum B team rounds out the top-five at 623. UVa-Wise is sixth with 632, followed by Bluefield College (633) Union, Ky. (637), Cleveland State, Tenn. (643) and Bluefield State (737).
Also in the top-10 for the Pioneers is sophomore Anthony Bolden, who carded a pair of 74s for his 148 and has him tied for sixth place. Sophomore Liam Sweeney is tied for 12th place with 74-79=153, while sophomore newcomer Trey Blevins is tied for 31st with 81-80=161 in his collegiate debut. Sophomore Bennett Noe is 36th with 86-79=165.
Sunday's final round will begin with a 9:30 p.m. shotgun start at Link Hills.
Tusculum is the three-time defending champion, but this marks the first time the Pioneers have not held the lead after a round of the TC Invitational since 2014 when TC trailed by 12 shots against Young Harris before rallying to a four-stroke win.