With Cole Miller leading the way, Penn State, No. 56 in the latest Golfstat rankings, fired a blistering 15-under 273 Friday to grab the lead after the opening round of the Seminole Intercollegiate at Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla.
Miller, a junior who was a Northwestern Lehigh standout, got a share of the individual lead with a brilliant 6-under 66 over the 7,172-yard, par-72 Southwood layout.
That helped the Nittany Lions grab a one-shot lead over tournament host Florida State, ranked 30th. The Seminoles carded a 14-under 274. No. 25 Georgia Tech, a perennial power, was another two shots back in third at 12-under 276. No. 120 West Virginia is fourth at 11-under 277 and No. 31 Jacksonville was another four shots behind the Mountaineers in fifth at 7-under 281.
Miller, who captured the Pennsylvania Amateur title last summer at Moselem Springs Golf Club, finished with a flourish with a birdie at 15, an eagle at 16 and a birdie at the last to complete his career-best round.
Christian Elliott, a senior from Canada, also had his career-best round for the Nittany Lions as he carded a 4-under 68 and is tied for eighth. A third career low was recorded by Ryan Davis, a freshman from Berkeley Heights, N.J. who fired a 3-under 69 and is tied for 12th.
Also for Penn State, Charles Huntzinger, a sophomore from Duluth, Ga., is tied for 20th with the fourth sub-par round for the Lions a 2-under 70. Sophomore Ryan Dornes, a former Manheim Township standout, is tied for 50th at 1-over 73. JD Hughes, a sophomore from Carlisle, is competing as an individual and he is tied for 39th after matching par with a 72.
“We have been playing well of late and were very patient through the turn today,” head coach Greg Nye told the Penn State website. “The back nine has some challenging holes that we played well and then made some good numbers on a few ‘gettables’ coming home.”
Sharing the top of the leaderboard with Miller are Georgia Tech’s Luke Schniederjans, a freshman from Powder Springs, Ga., and Winthrop’s Zach Seabolt, a senior from Raleigh, N.C., both of whom equaled Miller’s 66. Schniederjans is the younger brother of former Yellow Jacket star and current PGA Tour player Ollie Schniederjans.
Four players are lurking a shot back at 4-under 67 in a tie for fourth, including Florida State’s Henry Ellis, a redshirt junior from England, Jacksonville’s David Wicks, a senior from England, Virginia Commonwealth’s Alister Balcombe, a junior from England, and Troy’s Jared Bettcher, a senior from Auburn, Ala. Apparently there’s something about Southwood that fits the eye of the Brits.
Joining Penn State’s Elliott at 4-under 68 in the tie for eighth are Florida State’s Bennett Baker, a sophomore from Tallahassee, Fla., and West Virginia’s Tristan Nicholls, a sophomore from Australia.