Sophomore Chase Koepka had the low round of the day with a 4-under-par 68 and helped South Florida to a four-stroke lead after the first day of play at the sixth annual Rees Jones Collegiate Invitational at Haig Point Club on Daufuskie Island.
Koepka, last season's Big East Player of the Year, had five birdies and one bogey on the day. His teammates shot 74 or better to give the Bulls a 2-under-par 286 total after 18 holes of the 54-hole tournament. Rigel Fernandes had a 71, while Ryan Borg and Richard James had 73 and 74 respectively.
On the day, eight players managed to break par on the 7,380-yard, par 72 layout that is acclaimed as one of the top 100 courses in the country.
Freshman Chris Guglielmo, who is playing in his first collegiate tournament, was one of three players to finish two strokes behind Koepka at 2-under 70 to put his Kennesaw State team in second place with a total of 2-over 290.
Defending champion Liberty and the University of Charlotte are in at 291. Host South Carolina is tied for sixth in the 12-team field with a total of 296.
"I putted real well," said Koepka, who had just 26 putts that included a birdie from 10 feet on his last hole of the day. "I had a lot of short putts for par and I had a stretch of six or seven holes where I had good looks at birdie on each.
"I'm usually pretty accurate and I chip it pretty well," continued Koepka. "I played really well this summer and I'm just hoping to keep it going."
Guglielmo also went without a three-putt and managed to rebound with three birdies after an early bogey, for his 70.
Kennesaw State won the team title in 2010 and 2011 but slipped to eighth place last year. South Florida was not in the field a year ago.
Play continues on Monday and Tuesday and daily tickets are available at the Haig Point Embarkation, which includes ferry transportation from Hilton Head Island.
6th annual Rees Jones Collegiate Invitational
When: Through Tuesday
Where: Haig Point Club, Rees Jones Signature Calibogue Course, Daufuskie Island; Par 72; 7,380 yards.