BURLINGTON, N.C. – Powered by junior Parker Jones, Charleston Southern sits in third place at even par through 36 holes of the Phoenix Invitational at Alamance Country Club. CSU is four shots behind second-place Gardner-Webb and eight back of clubhouse leader and host Elon entering Tuesday's final round.
CSU (280-288 (+4)) was in or near the lead for portions of the second round before struggling down the stretch. Jones posted rounds of four-under 67 and two-over 73 to finish at -2 overall and in a tie for ninth. Elon's opening round composite score of -11 (277) helped the Phoenix take the 36-hole lead in the 16-team field. Gardner-Webb tallied identical scores of 282 and is in second place at -4. Elon's William Harwood and Temple's Trey Wren are tied for the individual lead at -7.
Jones played a near-flawless first round to go into the afternoon tied for second. He played the back nine at four-under 32 and suffered just one bogey on his third-to-last hole of the round. Jones birdied three of his first seven holes in the afternoon to continue his stellar play before bogeying five holes on the back side. The Calhoun Community College transfer is one stroke out of eighth and two back of a three-way tie for fifth.
Jones's classmate Elliot Gothe (T-22nd) was the Bucs' other top player on day one. Gothe carded a first round 70 and still managed a 73 in the afternoon despite a pair of double bogeys. Junior Brandon Smith (T-30th) and sophomore Connor Moore (T-38th) are also in the top half of the field for coach Jason Payne's squad.
"Today we were not at our best, and we gave away too many shots the last six holes," Payne said. "We'll be looking to get four countable scores tomorrow and make a move up the leaderboard like we know we're capable."
CSU is scheduled to tee off its final round alongside Elon and Gardner-Webb from 9:20-9:52.