SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. -- Daniel Stapff shot 3-under par and Barry University's No. 1-ranked men's golf team found itself tied for sixth after the first round of the NCAA Division II National Championships Tuesday at Cardinal Club Golf Course.
Entwined in a three-day stroke-play format now, the Buccaneers' ultimate goal is to be playing when it matters on Saturday. To do that, they need to emerge among the top eight after the 54-hole stroke play concludes Thursday. Following that, the top eight teams will advance to match play Friday and Saturday to decide the champ.
On this opening round day, the Bucs shot 2-over 290 on the 7,092-yard course -- home to the University of Louisville. Its bendy nature and steep bunkers around select greens, with a couple holes enticing to dare the bravest of golfers to hit over areas otherwise not considered safe, the Cardinal Club is a course that lends to all types of players. Yet the end result is to post the lowest score.
On the first day, that's what Central Oklahoma did in shooting 9-under 279 to claim the lead. UNC Pembroke was 3-under at 285 and Western Washington third at 1-under. Chico State and Georgia College & State were tied for fourth, a stroke ahead of the Bucs, who shared the sixth spot with Indiana University-Pennsylvania.
Stapff birdied five holes and coupled that with two bogeys in his opening round. Barry teammate Marcus Segerstrom shot 73, putting up three birdies -- a number he admittedly said wasn't enough.
"My round wasn't really anything special," Segerstrom said. "I hit a lot of greens, didn't make a lot of putts. I didn't make enough birdies to get it low. The team's effort, we're tied sixth right now, that's right where we want to be. The top eight is good enough and then we got the playoff.
"It's a pretty cool feeling being No. 1 right now, but it's not going to mean anything unless we win this championship."
Marcelo Huarte shot 73, closing with back-to-back birdies on holes 8 and 9 as the Buccaneers played the back nine first. Simon Forsslund had four birdies in his opening-round 75, and Scott Smyers had two birdies en route to a 77.
Central Oklahoma's Josh Creel shot 7-under 65, Indiana-Pennsylvania's Zack Kempa 4-under 68 and Hayden Letein matched Stapff's 3-under 69 to round out the leaders at the top of the pack. Nine players were tied for fifth at 2-under.