ROCKY FACE, Ga. – Senior All-American Brandon Pierce fired his lowest round in two seasons with an opening-round 4-under par 68 to lead the No. 7-ranked LSU Men’s Golf team into a tie for fourth place overall in Friday’s first round at the 28th-annual Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic being held this weekend at The Farm Golf Club.
Pierce was one of eight players in the field to finish the day three shots off the pace in a tie for third place with a score of 68. Florida’s sophomore All-American Sam Horsfield set the pace early in the tournament with a 7-under par 65 to grab a two-shot lead over Virginia’s Jimmy Stanger in second place with a 5-under 67.
The Covington, Louisiana, native led the Tigers into a tie for fourth place with Clemson and South Carolina as they finished with a team score of 5-under par 283 in their first round of the 2016-17 season.
Auburn and Virginia ended the day tied atop the team standings with matching scores of 12-under par 276 for a five-shot lead over Alabama in third place at 7-under 281. Following LSU, Clemson and South Carolina in a tie for seventh place were SEC rivals Florida and Tennessee with strong scores of their own at 4-under par 284. Georgia Tech (286) and Kennesaw State (287) also broke par on the day for ninth and 10th, respectively.
Pierce carded a team-leading six birdies on the day en route to his season-opening 68. After trading a birdie at the par-four first with a bogey at the par-five second, Pierce turned at 2-under par for his round thanks to a pair of birdies at the par-four seventh and par-five ninth holes. He dropped as low as 5-under par on the back nine with birdies at the par-three 11th, par-five 15th and par-four 16th before finishing with just his second bogey of the day at the par-four 17th hole for a 4-under 68.
By opening his senior season with a 4-under 68, Pierce fired his lowest collegiate score since the final round of the NCAA New Haven Regional on May 16, 2015, when he shot a 5-under 65 at The Course at Yale.
Jones Fires Career-Low Round in Season Opener
Senior Rhyne Jones eclipsed his previous career-low of even-par 72 in the final round at last fall’s Golfweek Conference Challenge with a 1-under par 71 on Friday to finish the day tied for 25th place overall.
Jones was steady throughout the day as he carded three birdies and two bogeys en route to his career-low round. He dipped into red figures for the first time with a birdie at the par-three eighth hole before dropping to 2-under par for his round with a birdie at the par-three 11th hole. After trading a bogey at the 14th with a birdie at the 15th, Jones finished at 1-under with a bogey at the par-four 18th hole.
Jones was matched by sophomore All-American Sam Burns, who also fired a 1-under 71 in the opening round of the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic to finish the day in a tie for 25th place. Burns broke par in the opening round of the event for the second-straight season after posting a 3-under 69 in his first collegiate round as a Tiger last fall.
Gagne Rounds Out Scoring in First Round
Sophomore All-American Luis Gagne rounded out the team scoring for the Tigers on Friday afternoon with an opening-round 73 as he finished the day in a tie for 41st place overall. Gagne posted a 6-over 78 in his debut round as a Tiger at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic last September before finishing the event in a tie for 45th place at 13-over par for the championship.
Also playing Friday’s first round at The Farm Golf Club was senior All-American Eric Ricard, who carded a 4-over par 76 to finish the day in a tie for 62nd place on the leaderboard. Ricard was 1-under on the front nine.
Pairings Set for Second Round
The Tigers will play alongside Clemson and South Carolina in Saturday’s second round as they are set to tee off in the second wave off the front nine beginning at 8:15 a.m. CT. Each team finished the first round tied for fourth place in the 14-team field with matching scores of 5-under par 283 on the day.
Golfstat will provide live scoring of the second and third rounds at the 28th-annual Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic as fans can follow the action at http://golfstat.com. Fans can also receive live tournament updates with behind-the-scenes coverage of the team by following @LSUMensGolf on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsumensgolf, @lsumensgolfteam on Instagram at http://instagram.com/lsumensgolfteam and LSU Men’s Golf at Facebook at http://facebook.com/lsumensgolf.
CARPET CAPITAL COLLEGIATE CLASSIC – FIRST ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 288)
T1. Auburn 276 -12; T1. Virginia 276 -12; 3. Alabama 281 -7; T4. LSU 283 -5; T4. South Carolina 283 -5; T4. Clemson 283 -5; T7. Tennessee 284 -4; T7. Florida 284 -4; 9. Georgia Tech 286 -2; 10. Kennesaw State 287 -1; T11. North Florida 293 +5; T11. Dalton State 293 +5; 13. Chattanooga 299 +11; 14. Memphis 303 +15.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 72)
1. Sam Horsfield, Florida, 65 -7; 2. Jimmy Stanger, Virginia, 67 -5; T3. Brandon Pierce, LSU, 68 -4; T3. Ryan Benton, Auburn, 68 -4; T3. Travis Crowe, Auburn, 68 -4*; T3. Chris Guglielmo, Kennesaw State, 68 -4; T3. Tyler Hitchner, Alabama, 68 -4; T3. Lee Hodges, Alabama, 68 -4; T3. Will Long, Auburn, 68 -4; T3. Carson Young, Clemson, 68 -4.