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Mathews, Gamecocks Lead After Opening Round of 2023 Folds of Honor Collegiate

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - The opening round of the second annual Folds of Honor Collegiate took place on Monday at American Dunes Golf Club.

After recording the only bogey-free round of the day on this picturesque, Labor Day Monday, NC State’s Nick Mathews leads the individual competition a few hundred yards from the east shore of Lake Michigan with a four-under 67. 

“I’m really proud of the way I executed my process and stay in the present out there,” said the redshirt junior from Mebane, N.C. “You’ve got to put yourself in position, and even once you’re in position, with the firmness of the greens, the wind, and the pin locations, there are a lot of calculations going into it. I stuck to the same targets that I planned out.”

Memphis’ Esteban Vazquez, Indiana’s Noah Gillard, and Cecil Belisle sit one shot back after carding a three-under 68 each. 

“As Coach said this morning, conditions are very tough here,” the senior from Oviedo, Spain, who birdied four consecutive holes that included 18 (his ninth) and 1-2-3 (his 10-11-12), said. “I made a couple of mistakes in the front nine, but kept calm, bounced back, and kept my head in the game, and it paid off.”

South Carolina sits atop the team leaderboard with a 282 (-2) after being led by four individuals inside the top 20. Zach Adams, a sophomore from Charleston, S.C., birdied his last two holes of the day to finish two shots back of Mathews.

“My putting was really good today,” Adams said. “I played smart, didn’t try to attach any pins, and mozied my way around the golf course.

“I didn’t realize this place would be this special,” he continued about the meaning of the Folds of Honor Collegiate. “It’s an honor to play here.”

Arizona, who was also led by four individuals inside the top 20, is one back of the Gamecocks. Tiger Christensen, who competed in this summer’s Open Championship, maintained a lead throughout much of his back nine before finishing with a two-under 69.

“I had a good feeling all day,” said the junior from Hamburg, Germany. “I had a really good range session and my swing’s been feeling really good, so I just stayed patient out there.” 

This opening round also saw a 1 on a scorecard after Kentucky’s Campbell Kremer converted on a 192-yard par-3 12th hole.

“It was after a pretty ugly start that got me going,” the senior from Louisville, Ky. said. “This was my first hole-in-one in competition, and I birdied the next two holes. Birdies go a long way here, so it gave me some momentum going into tomorrow.”

“I’ve never played at a place like this before,” he continued. “It’s different and I love it.”

Round 2 of the 2023 Folds of Honor Collegiate will tee off at 11:10 AM EST. Follow this link for live scoring and Golf Channel’s live coverage beginning at 4 PM EST.