As Francis Marion golf coach Mark Gaynor made his way around the Wexford Plantation Golf Course on Monday, he said he wasn't exactly sure where his players were.
"They did all right without me (Monday) morning," Gaynor joked. "I figured they'e be OK."
The Patriots were more than OK, leading after the first round of the eighth Wexford Intercollegiate at Wexford Plantation Golf Club on Hilton Head Island.
Thanks to a late start because of the weather, the golfers finished just one of their two scheduled rounds at Wexford. The second round will be completed today, followed by the third and final round. The golf begins at 8 a.m..
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As for Gaynor, he wasn't really ignoring his team, but instead was occupied with his responsibilities as the tournament's host, as well as coach
"The guys were playing solid. They're used to the golf course," Gaynor said. "We host the tournament, obviously, and our guys stop by here every once in a while."
The Patriots (291), led by Kenneth Svanum (2-under 70) and Lukas Crisp (even-par 72), own a one-stroke lead on Richmond (292) and a five-shot lead on Georgia Southern.
"The scores are getting better as the golf course is settling in," said Gaynor, comparing this year's scores to last year when the course was coming off an Arnold Palmer redesign. "The greens have gotten softer. They're settling. But there's still a lot of golf to be played."
Individually, South Florida sophomore Trey Valentine shot a first-round 3-under 69, good for a one-stroke lead over Western Carolina's J.T. Poston, Francis Marion's Svanum and Richmond's Daniel Walker.
"I got a lot of good breaks, actually. I hit a lot of errant tee shots that stayed in play," Valentine said. "I made the most of my opportunities. I only had to make 24 putts. I really didn't do anything wrong or make any mistakes except the errant tee shots. But I kept them in play and I was rolling it.
" I just need to keep it in play, and it'll be good. Avoid the big number and I'll be fine."
Golfers will pick up where they left off on Monday evening. When second-round play is finished, the teams will proceed right into the third and final round with no break.
Play starts at 8 a.m. Admission is free.
One benefit to college golf, Gaynor said, is you don't know how you're doing in relation to everybody else. There are no scoreboards on the course.
"You never really know where you are," he said. "You just have to worry about what you have to do to play well."
Wexford Plantation Golf Course
1. Francis Marion 291, 2. Richmond 292, 3. Georgia Southern 296, 4. South Florida 297, 5. Georgia State 298, T6. Davidson 299, T6. Presbyterian 299, 8. Samford 301, T9. Ohio 304, T9. DePaul 304, 11. Campbell 307, 12. Elon 309, T13. Connecticut, T13. USC Aiken 310, 15. Radford 312, T16. Western Carolina 313, T16. Willaim & Mary 313, 18. Dayton 314.
Top 10 Individuals
1. Trey Valentine, South Florida 69
T2. J.T. Poston, Western Carolina 70
T2. Kenneth Svanum, Francis Marion 70
T2. Daniel Walker, Richmond 70
T5. Hayden Anderson, Georgia Southern 71
T5, Amanjyot Singh, Campbell 71
T7. Lukas Crisp, Francis Marion 72
T7. Chase Koepka, South Florida 72
T7. Jonathan Grey, Georgia State 72
T7. Sam Jackson, Presbyterian 72
T7. Jack Adkins, Elon 72