CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Senior Connor Bruns (-1) scored a hole in one and finished the round tied for 14th to lead the Furman men's golf team following the opening day of the 2018-19 season at the Golfweek Conference Challenge at the par 72, 7,071 yard Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Bruns started the round on hole No. 10 and birdied No. 18 to make the turn at two-over then rallied on the front, carding an ace on the par-3 No. 5 and following it up with a birdie on No. 6. He finished the round with a 71, five shots back of leader Thomas Thurloway of Jacksonville, who fired an opening round 66.
"I was sitting on the tee box of No. 5 talking with Coach Eckstein about the yardage and the wind, and I was a little hesitant to pull 9-iron, but Coach told me that Owen (Burden), who was playing right in front me, hit the exact same shot as we did in the practice round," said Bruns. "So, I trusted what he was telling me and went with the same shot I hit the day before. I knew it was going to be good coming off the face, but I wasn't really thinking it would dunk in the hole, which was an absolute bonus.
"I was just trying to get a little momentum going for my last five holes, and I knew if I could just put one in tight on No. 5 and make a birdie, I would be in a good spot for the last few holes," continued Bruns. "I honestly didn't really know how to react after I saw it go in. That was my first competitive hole-in-one, so I just threw my hands up and gave coach a high five. I'm definitely going to remember that shot for a very long time."
Furman junior Matt Lehman (+1) is tied for 36th after carding an opening round 73 with birdies on No. 6 and No. 13. Rookie Owen Burden (+2), playing in his first collegiate tournament, and senior Garrison Hogan (+2) are tied for 43rd. Burden recorded three birdies, including consecutive birdies on No. 5 and No. 6, while Hogan added birdies on No. 6 and No. 9. Junior Keller Harper (+3) scored a birdie on No. 15 and ended the day with a 75, tying for 49th.
"Today was a solid start for the first round of the year on a firm and tricky golf course," said Furman head coach Matt Davidson. "Connor's hole in one was definitely the highlight. Several of us got to witness it, which was a lot of fun."
Arkansas State (-11) led the field with a 277 on Sunday to take a four-stroke lead over Jacksonville (-7). Host Iowa (-6) is in third, followed by San Jose State (-5) in fourth place. Campbell (-1) completes the top five, and Kansas State (E) is sixth, followed by Southern Illinois (+1) in seventh. The Paladins (+4) sit in the middle of the field in eighth place.
Furman will tee off of No. 1 beginning at 8:55 a.m. CT on Monday in the second round of the 54-hole tournament and will play in a group with Southern Illinois and Ball State. Admission is free and fans are welcome. Results and live tournament scoring are available via www.FurmanPaladins.com and www.golfstat.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
8 Furman 292 +4
T14 Connor Bruns 71 -1
T36 Matt Lehman 73 +1
T43 Owen Burden 74 +2
T43 Garrison Harper 74 +2
T49 Keller Harper 75 +3