Kiawah Island, SC – The Stetson Hatters opened the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic with a 16-over par score of 300 on Sunday afternoon, good for a spot in the top half of the 26-team field.
The Hatters were led once again by freshman Dustin Dingus (Palm Harbor, Fla.). He flirted with an even par opening round before a bogey on the 18th hole spoiled that chance. His one-over par 72 has him tied for 18th, just four shots behind tournament co-leaders Mason Casper of Utah Valley and Caleb Sturgeon of South Carolina.
Sturgeon’s three-under par 68, combined with under par rounds for USC teammates Matthew NeSmith (69) and Will Starke (70) helped the Gamecocks to a seven-shot first round lead over second place Winthrop. South Carolina (282) was the only team to break par on the first day of the event.
Winthrop (289), College of Charleston (290), Radford (292) and Western Kentucky (295) round out the top five in the team standings.
Behind Dingus, Stetson got solid opening performances from freshman Andrew Peterson (Andover, Minn.), sophomore Matt Taylor (Naples, Fla.) and junior Tyler White (Palm Harbor, Fla.).
Peterson struggled early, posting bogeys on three of his first four holes, but settled into a steady rhythm over the next 11 holes, completing those at two under par. A bogey on 16 was followed by a double-bogey on 18, leaving Peterson with a four-over par 75.
Taylor is one shot further back after steadying his game following a double bogey and a triple bogey on the front nine. He played the back nine at even par (two birdies and two bogeys) for his five-over par 76.
White is another shot back after a six-over par 77 on Sunday. His round featured back-to-back double bogeys on holes 6 and 7, followed by another double on 11, before playing the final seven holes at two-under par (three birdies and a bogey).
Freshman Bian Kehoe (Katonah, NY) struggled from the start in his first collegiate round, finishing with a 14-over par 85 on the day.
The Hatters, who played the opening round with WKU and Presbyterian, will again play with those teams on Monday in the second round. Stetson’s tee times are scheduled to begin at 12:50 p.m.
Live scoring for the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic is available online through golfstat.com.