Howie-in-the-Hills, Fla. – Stetson University freshman Dustin Dingus opened play at the Mission Inn Intercollegiate on Friday with a two-under par round of 70 to lead the Hatters to the first day lead.
Dingus (Palm Harbor, Fla.) owns a two shot lead over a pair of players for top individual honors. He was the only player in the field to best El Campeon on Friday, helping Stetson to a four shot lead over host St. John’s.
Playing head-to-head with Bethune-Cookman’s Matthew McKnight, who came into the day ranked fifth in the nation according to GolfStat, Dingus recorded three birdies, 14 pars and just one bogey to take a three-shot lead over his playing partner.
The Hatters’ other freshman, Andrew Peterson (Andover, Minn.) bounced back from his struggles last weekend to post a one-over par 73 to tie with three other players for fourth place, three shots behind Dingus.
Sophomore Matt Taylor (Naples, Fla.) and junior Tyler White (Palm Harbor, Fla.) also posted strong opening rounds. Taylor’s two-over par 74 has him tied for eighth overall while White is three shots further back, tied for 28th, after an opening round score of 77.
Sophomore Jose Rosales Cruz (Queretaro, Mexico) struggled through the first round and is in 46th place after a 10-over par score of 82.
While the Hatters (294) hold a four shot lead over St. John’s (298), most of the field of 10 teams is still within 10 shots of the lead. Johnson & Wales (299), Embry-Riddle (300) and Bethune-Cookman (301) are all within striking range along with Alabama State (302) and Appalachian State (304).
Tampa (308), Savannah State (316) and Florida A&M (333) have more ground to make up.
The Hatters will begin their second round of competition on Saturday morning with an 8:33 a.m. tee time. Stetson will play with St. John’s and Johnson & Wales and will begin play again on the back nine.
The tournament is scheduled to conclude on Sunday with a third 18-hole round of play.