JONESBOROUGH, TENN. -- Freshman Bryce Howell (-5) fired a opening round 67 on Friday to lead Furman in the first day of the Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at the par 72 7,147 yard Blackthorn Club at The Ridges in Jonesborough, Tenn. The Paladins (+4) rank ninth out of 14 teams following the first day of competition.
Howell, who enters Saturday's second round tied for second overall, registered back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6 then put together consecutive birdies twice on the back nine to finish the day one stroke behind leader Rhys Pugh of East Tennessee State, who fired a 66 in the opening round.
Sophomore Wehman Hopke (+1) finished the round at one over par after shooting a 73, including a birdie on the second hole, to place in a tie for 29th in the tournament's opening round, while junior Michael Borton (+2) carded a 74 with three birdies in Friday's round for a 41st-place finish.
Sophomore Preston Heyward (+6) shot a 78 to open the tournament, tying for 64th after the opening round, and sophomore Preston Cole (+6) birdied the opening hole to tie for 68th after carding an 80 in Friday's round.
"Bryce had a terrific round today to keep our team in the competition," said Furman head coach Todd Satterfield. "We have to be slightly more efficient as a team and continue to do the little things to improve."
ETSU (-11) holds a seven-stroke lead over Virginia Tech (-4) following the first day of competition. Kent State (-3) stands in third place entering the tournament's second round.
The Paladins will tee off of No. 1 Saturday at 10:20 a.m. in second round action. Live tournament scoring will be available via www.golfstat.com.
9 Furman 292 +4
T2 Bryce Howell 67 -5
T29 Wehman Hopke 73 +1
T41 Michael Borton 74 +2
T64 Preston Heyward 78 +6
T68 Preston Cole 80 +8