HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Gardner-Webb played the first 36 holes of its spring season Monday and sits in third after the first day of the 2017 Wexford Plantation Intercollegiate.
The Runnin' Bulldogs fired a first-round 298 and finished the second 18 holes at 291, falling in just one stroke behind USC Aiken and Radford with one round remaining to be played Tuesday.
The event is being held on the 6,913-yard Wexford Plantation course.
Vincent Blanchette finished Monday's action tied for first, firing a pair of identical rounds of 71 to sit at minus-2 for the tournament. Blanchette overcame an early bogie on the second hole of his morning, sinking a birdie putt on No. 9 to finish even at the turn.
He heated up on the back nine with birdies on the 11th and 12th holes. He bounced back from consecutive bogies on 16 and 17 to birdie the 18th for his first 71 of the day.
Blanchette continued to shine in the second round of the day, recording two birdies to begin. He finished the front nine at even par in the afternoon, but birdied the 14th hole to finish at 71 in the final group.
Chris Jones finished in a tie for ninth (73-72-145), three strokes back of the leaders after shooting even par in the afternoon round. He had a pair of birdies – on holes No. 8 and No. 11 – to get to even for the final 18 of the day.
Gardner-Webb is four strokes in front of Big South Conference foe Winthrop and six strokes in front of Akron and Mercer.
The teams will hit the course for the final round on Tuesday morning.