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MCKINNEY – Monday served as a coming-out-party for the Sam Houston State freshman class at the 54th Southland Conference Men’s Golf Championship, held at the Dye Course from Stonebridge Ranch Country Club.

William Holcomb sits tied for fourth at 1-over 73 and Noah Steele is tied for ninth at 3-over, 75, through one round at the par-72, 7,219-yard course. Sam Houston sits in third at 19-over, 307, 12 strokes behind leader Southeastern Louisiana (7-over, 295) and five back of second-place McNeese (14-over, 302).

Holcomb is in striking distance at three strokes back of leader James Anstiss (2-under, 70) of Southeastern Louisiana. McNeese’s Andreas Krokeide and Nicholls’ Albert Badosa-Soler are tied for second at even-par 72 and the Lions’ Paul Obermann is 1-over, 73, in a tie with Holcomb.

Jake McCrory is tied for 17th at 6-over, 78, while Andrew Ertel is tied for 27th at 9-over, 81. The all-conference duo finished tied for fifth and tied for second a season ago, giving Sam Houston belief that a day-two turnaround could find the team surging up the leaderboard.

Jarred Jeter is also part of the nine-way tie for 27th, shooting an opening-round 9-over, 81. The Bearkats matched McNeese for the team lead with 15 birdies on a day dominated by windy conditions, four ahead of Houston Baptist’s 11 in third.

Sam Houston is two strokes ahead of fourth-place Nicholls (309) and six strokes up on fifth-place Stephen F. Austin (313).

Second-round action gets underway at 7:30 a.m. with the first Bearkat in Jeter teeing off at 9:45. Ertel follows at 9:54 a.m. followed by McCrory at 10:03 a.m., Steele at 10:12 a.m. and Holcomb at 10:21 a.m.

Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the opening round…

“We actually played really well on a hard golf course. We just struggled the last three holes. The wind picked up and the course was really firm. You can tell from the scores it is playing tough. We know 12 shots in two rounds is very doable.”

Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the Holcomb and Steele…
“They carried us through the round. I was really proud of them. They have just gotten better each week. They played at a very mature level for young men.”

Head coach Brandt Kieschnick’s thoughts heading into Tuesday…
“It’s going to be tougher tomorrow. The wind will be blowing harder. I told them we played well we just need to keep the ball out of the tough spots. We are in a good frame of mind. We will just try to capitalize.”