Charlie Niland leads Carolinian Amateur after first round
Charlie Niland has the over night lead at the Carolinian Amateur Championship <br>(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)</br>
Charlie Niland has the over night lead at the Carolinian Amateur Championship
(Carolinas Golf Association Photo)
BUIES CREEK, NC (May 20, 2016) - Cloudy skies and pristine 70-degree weather provided players with scoreable conditions for the first round of the Inaugural Carolinian Amateur Championship on Friday at Keith Hills Golf Club.

The morning wave consisted of tight knit scores at the top of the leaderboard led by Charlie Niland of Charlotte, N.C. who opened with a one-under-par, 69. Niland’s round had a sluggish start that included two bogeys and seven pars en route to a two-over-par front nine. “On the front nine, I hit the ball well but I didn’t really get the putter rolling. I made some good par saves and hung in there and when I made the turn, the putter got hot on the back nine.”

During Niland’s hot back nine he made three birdies and an eagle, 3, on the 18th hole that he converted from long-range with his flat stick. Niland’s round of 69 gives him a one shot lead going into Saturday’s round where his game plan will not change. “Same thing going into tomorrow, just go out there and have fun. It’s better than work!” Niland, 26, played college golf at Quinnipiac University.

Consistency was key for Joseph Cansler of Clemmons, N.C. who made two bogeys and two birdies that resulted in an even par 70. “I only missed a handful of fairways and I think I missed two, maybe three greens all day. My round consisted of mostly hitting the green and two putting.” The UNC Greensboro junior entered the day believing that even par would be a solid score on this golf course. “The course is a lot harder than it looks on paper. The greens have always been pretty hard, so getting it close to the hole and making a lot of birdies is not very easy.” The 21-year- old says that his approach for tomorrow will depend on how low scores are at the conclusion of today’s round. “I’ll see what the scores end up today and depending on what they are, I’ll decide whether I try to play more aggressive or just keep doing the same thing.”

Parker Dudley of Charleston, S.C. fired an even par round that was plagued by driver issues. The 25-year- old said that the final straw for his driver came on the thirteenth hole, which he double bogeyd. It was then that he decided to take his caddie’s advice and start hitting a shorter club off of the tee. “After I made double on number 13, I decided to put the driver away for the day,” said the Charleston, S.C. native. “Once I did that, I started playing more consistent golf.”

Local Campbell University redshirt freshman Brett McLamb of Coats, N.C. faired well today on his home golf course. “I was quite comfortable with the course being that it is my home club. However, they spiced up the greens and made it a par 70, which made it a much more challenging course.” McLamb will be looking to record another solid round on his home turf Saturday.

Scores in the afternoon wave were seemingly higher than morning scores with Sam Wimbrow of Concord, N.C. and local Lilington resident James Harris both firing rounds of one-over-par 71. Although sub-par rounds were scarce in the afternoon, AJ Beechler of Pinehurst, N.C. recorded his first career hole-in-one with a six iron from 201 yards on hole #14 that led to a round of 76.

The Carolinian Amateur format is 54-holes of stroke play. Entry is open to male amateur golfers age 16 and older who have a USGA handicap index of 7.4 or lower at a CGA member club. The field will be reduced to the low 70 and ties after 36-holes. The champion will receive an exemption into the 102nd Carolinas Amateur being hosted by the Country Club of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. on July 14-17, 2016. The top 30 finishers will receive gift certificates to the Keith Hills GC golf shop.

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