Season Opener 
Monday, Sept. 11 – Tuesday, Sept. 12 • 54 Holes • Sam Hall Intercollegiate Golf Tournament 
Hattiesburg, Miss. • Hattiesburg Country Club • par 71 • 6,902 yards
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Sam Houston State put together a strong first two rounds of its season and positioned itself well entering Tuesday at the Sam Houston Intercollegiate from the par-71, 6,902-yard Hattiesburg Country Club.

The squad sits at 4-over, 572, in third, trailing leader Southern Miss (4-under, 564) by eight strokes and second-place UTSA (even-par, 568) by four strokes with the final round beginning on Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Despite windy conditions, the Bearkats situated themselves right in the mix thanks to all five starters sitting within the top-25 of the 75-man field. The host Golden Eagles hold the top three spots individually, led by Matt Codd at 3-under, 139. Just six strokes separate first from 25th.

After qualifying in his first tournament with the Bearkats, transfer Austen Christiansen paced play for the squad, carding an even-par, 142 (70-72). The junior, who sits in ninth, just three strokes off the lead, birdied three of his four holes on the back-9 of his opening round and settled in nicely during his second.

William Holcomb began his sophomore campaign in a big way, posting an eagle – one of just three on the day – on No. 17 during his opening round while recovering nicely on the back-9 after bogeying his first two holes of the tournament. He is tied for 13th at 1-over, 143 (71-72).

Meanwhile, Noah Steele (71-73) is currently in a six-way tie for 19th at 2-over, 144, despite bogeying four of his final seven holes during the second round. Teammate Jake McCrory (74-71) surged ahead 14 spots in the final round and is tied with Levi Valadez (73-72) in 25th at 3-over, 145.

Jesse Massengale, who is competing individually, is tied for 66th at 16-over, 158 after following up a first-round 77 with a second-round 81. The Kats enter the third round ranking first on the course’s par-4s at 2-over and second with 114 pars.

Valadez gets the action started for the Kats on Tuesday at 9:03 a.m. followed by McCrory at 9:12 a.m. Steele tees off at 9:21 a.m. while Holcomb gets underway at 9:30 a.m. Christiansen looks to continue climbing the leaderboard when he tees off at 9:39 a.m. and Massengale begins play at 8:54 a.m.

QUOTEABLES:
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick
“It was a really tough day. The wind was blowing and the course was playing fast. I was really proud of the way we fought. These guys are the ultimate competitors. They found a way to stay in contention. The makeup of this team is they’re fighters and guys that don’t make excuses. We have a chance to win tomorrow and I don’t feel like we had our best stuff today.”

Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on Austen Christiansen
“Austen, I walked with him probably the first 25 holes just to continue to mold his game and thoughts. He hit it really good. He found ways to make pars. They all play the same way. They are really competitive. They had great short games. He played really solid. He hit it really well in the first round and all day.”

Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the final round…
“Today was the message was I wanted to let them know I was proud of them. We have a chance tomorrow. We’re going to meet with them in the morning. The message will be very simple. Whatever happens tomorrow, we’re going to be better players and a better team. We’re going to try to play this course better than anyone. We think if four guys shoot under par, we’ve got a really good shot of doing it. We want to go out and play clean.”