by Alan Babbitt
Formidable rough tested the Hope College men's golf team and half the field on Tuesday during the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
The 13th-ranked Flying Dutchmen shot a team score of 305 at Keene Trace Golf Club's Champions Trace course and are in 14th place out of 42 teams.
An even-par 72 from senior Josh Gibson, pictured, of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville HS) led Hope to the fifth-lowest round among teams who played the 7,190-yard Champions Trace Course.
Ten of the teams ahead of Hope will tee off at Champion Trace today before the second-round cut. The Flying Dutchmen switch over to the 6,897-yard Keen Run course for the second round and are scheduled to tee off at 12 p.m.
After the second-round cut to the top 18 teams and top six individuals not on qualifying teams, the final 36 holes are scheduled to be played on Champions Trace.
"This is a really difficult course," head coach Scott Lokers said. "The rough is really high and thick. If you don't have hit it in the fairway, you have a hard time even advancing the ball. All of our players had successes in stretches and great challenges in stretches. Part of it is that it's golf at the national level. Part of it is a difficult course.
"We're not discouraged. I think all five golfers feel they could have played better. We'll be ready to golf tomorrow."
Illinois Wesleyan (287) is the first-round leader. Sixth-place Guilford (296) carded the best team score on Champions Trace.
Gibson, the 2017 NCAA individual champion, is tied for 13th place individually. He is three shots of the lead after a round that included four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on his last hole of the day — the par-4, 415-yard ninth.
Kramer shot 2-over on both nines. Settecerri rallied late and finished 1-under over his final nine holes.
Junior Noah Weigle of Grandville, Michigan (Grandville) rounded out Hope's scoring with an 81.
Senior Andrew Goble of Brighton, Michigan (Brighton) shot an 82.