Greenville, S.C.–Georgia State opened the first nine holes 3-under par on Friday afternoon, but a 13-over back-nine cost the Panthers who finished the first round with a 298 total and 13th place with 36 holes to at the Furman Intercollegiate in Greenville, S.C.

Despite the tough second nine, the Panthers are only eight shots outside of the top five as just four of 21 teams broke par.

Junior Tyler Gruca used five birdies to shoot a 1-under 71 and stand in a tie for tenth in the 126-player field following the first round.

“We got off to a very good start,” commented head coach Joe Inman. “However, we really suffered on the back nine and it cost us a spot among the leaders. The good thing is that we are not out of it and can still have a very good finish, but it starts by playing a complete round of golf on Saturday.”

After shooting 1-under on the front nine with an eagle at the par 5 sixth, sophomore Davin White shot 40 on the back nine to open the tournament with a 3-over 75 and is tied for 48th.

Junior Grant Cagle was identical to White, opening with a pair of birdies en route to an opening nine 1-under 35, but also shot 40 on the back nine to stand tied for 48th following an opening round 3-over 75.

Sophomore Damon Stephenson opened with a front nine 37, but a double bogey at the 10th led the Aussie to an opening day 5-over 77. Stephenson is tied for 72nd.

Rounding out the Panthers line-up was freshman Jonathan Grey who struggled for the first time in nine tournaments this year. After making two birdies and shooting even par on the opening nine, Grey shot 44 with two double bogeys on the back nine to finish the day at 8-over par (80) and tied for 105th.

Grey has yet to finish worse than 19th in a tournament this season and has won three times, including just last weekend at the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular.

Juniors Ross Mclister, Victor Lavin and Kevin Lee also made the trip competing as individuals. Mclister and Lavin opened with first round 78’s and are tied for 82nd. Lee shot a first round 79 and is tied for 97th.

Virginia Tech leads by four strokes following a first round 8-under 280. No. 17 North Florida is in second after opening with a 4-under 284 with Winthrop in third at 3-under. Western Carolina is alone in fourth after a 1-under 287 with No. 44 Chattanooga in fifth at 2-over.

There is a four-way tie for the lead as Virginia Tech’s Trevor Cone, UNF’s M.J. Maguire, Western Carolina’s J.T. Poston and Troy’s Jake Tucker each shot 4-under 68’s on Friday. Virginia Tech’s Bryce Chalkley and Iowa State’s Scott Fernandez, ranked 37th in the country, are tied for fifth at 3-under.

Georgia State will tee of at 8:50 a.m. off the tenth tee on Saturday morning with North Florida and Iowa State. The final round scheduled for Sunday.

Following the event, Georgia State will return to the course for its final regular season event April 8-9 at the Old Waverly Championships hosted by Mississippi State in West Point, Miss.

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