What You Need to Know:
* Following an 11-under 277, Georgia State leads a loaded field following the first round of The Hootie at Bulls Bay.
* Senior Nathan Mallonee is tied for third and just one stroke off the lead after an opening round 5-under 67.
* The 15-team field includes three teams ranked in the top 25 and nine of the top 50 teams in the latest GolfStat rankings.


AWENDAW, S.C. – Led by a 67 from senior Nathan Mallonee and four golfers among the top 25, Georgia State surged to the lead of The Hootie at Bulls Bay on Sunday. The Panthers shot an impressive 11-under 277 to lead a field that includes nine teams ranked in the top 50.

Mallonee sits tied for third and just one stroke off the lead after a round that included six birdies, including four-straight on the front nine, as well as an eagle.

Georgia State, currently ranked No. 69 in the latest GolfStat rankings, leads two-time defending champion No. 31 South Carolina by two strokes after the Gamecocks shot 9-under on Sunday. No. 9 Virginia is third at 7-under, followed by No. 25 Ole Miss in fourth at 5-under. No. 23 Auburn rounds out the top five at 4-under.

“We played some very good golf today,” head coach Joe Inman said. “As funny as it may seem, I also feel like we left some shots on the course. We did get lucky with some good breaks, but sometimes you need those in golf.

“I challenged our guys this week. This field is stronger than what we would see in an NCAA Regional. Let’s go out, play our best golf and see what happens.”

Sophomore Nathan Williams, who is having an impressive spring, sits tied for seventh-place following a 3-under 69. Junior Alex Herrmann is tied for 12th at 2-under par, while twin brother Max Herrmann is tied for 21st at 1-under par.

Sophomore Nick Budd rounds out the Georgia State line-up and is tied for 51st at 2-over par.

Max Herrmann and Williams each made six birdies a piece during the opening round, while Alex Herrmann chipped in with four.

South Carolina’s Keenan Huskey and Ole Miss’ Braden Thornberry are tied for the individual lead at 6-under par. Mallonee is tied for third at 5-under par with Virginia’s Jimmy Stranger, NC State’s Benjamin Shipp and Ole Miss’ Ben Wolcott.

Live scoring can be found throughout the tournament at Birdiefire.com. Georgia State will be paired with South Carolina and Virginia in Monday’s second round beginning at 10:10 a.m. off Hole No. 1.

The eighth annual event benefits The Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation which puts on the event. The coaches, players and sponsors enjoyed a Hootie and the Blowfish concert on Friday night.

Following the event, Georgia State will return to the course April 1-2 at the 3M Augusta Invitational in Augusta, Ga. It will mark the final regular season event before the Sun Belt Conference Championship later in the month in Destin, Fla.