By Justin Jarrett, NAIA Media Coordinator
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — (Individual Results | Team Results | Combo Results | Photos) Defending champion Coastal Georgia picked up where it left off a year ago, carding a team score of 6-under-par 282 to take a share of the lead after day one of the 2015 NAIA Men's Golf National Championships.
The top-ranked Mariners had four players shoot 74 or better on the Hills Course at LPGA International, with senior Alastair Tidcombe leading the way with a 7-under-par 65 to top the leaderboard. Tidcombe is one shot clear of William Woods sophomore Matt Wells, who fired a 6-under 66 to lead the Owls to a share of the lead.
Both teams atop the standings teed off early and were able to take advantage of calmer conditions. The scoring average during the morning wave of tee times was 75.96, compared with 76.76 in the afternoon wave.
Wayland Baptist (Texas) was the only team that managed to break par in the afternoon, coming in at 1-under 287 to sit five shots off the lead. Texas Wesleyan finished at even-par 288, while Oklahoma City is fifth at 289 with three teams tied for sixth at 294 and three tied for ninth at 295.
Tidcombe started his round with a bogey but didn't have another setback until the par-5 16th, which he followed with back-to-back birdies to finish one shot off the tournament record. Tidcombe was dialed in with his irons, hitting 16 greens — many within 15-20 feet — and was able to be aggressive with his putts.
Wells was the only player who made a run at Tidcombe, putting together a bogey-free round that included four birdies and an eagle at the par-4 fifth hole. His 66 paired with a 71 from Julian Taylor, a 72 from David Houlding and a 73 from Stan Gautier propelled the third-ranked Owls to the top of the leaderboard.
Dalton State's Sean Elliott is third after firing a 4-under 68, and eight players are tied for fourth at 2-under.
The second round gets underway at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday with Wayland Baptist (Texas), Tennessee Wesleyan and Northwestern (Iowa) teeing off No. 10. USC Beaufort (S.C.), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and Jamestown (N.D.) will lead the morning wave off the first tee at 7:50 a.m.
The afternoon wave begins with Coastal Georgia, Victoria (B.C.) and Marian (Ind.) going off the 10th tee at noon followed by individuals Zach Day of Mobile (Ala.), Kade Crossland of Corban (Ore.) and Daniel Thompsett of Rocky Mountain (Mont.) off the first tee at 12:30 p.m.