DADE CITY, Fla. - Mercer senior John Gregory Joseph fired a 69 (-3) in Sunday's opening round of the USF Invitational to lead the men's golf team to a tie for third place. Mercer's team score of 289 is just two strokes behind South Carolina and NC State for the tournament lead.
Mercer's 289 equaled Virginia's efforts and outpaced Florida State by four strokes. Kentucky (295) is sixth while South Florida (296) and Louisville (296) are tied for seventh.
"John Gregory's 69 was very strong," Mercer head coach Steve Bradley said. "He's certainly very capable of having that type of round and we're excited and happy for him. I think we still left some shots out there, but every team could say that."
Joseph got off to a red hot start, birdying three of the first five holes en route to a front nine total of 33. On the back nine, he shot an even-par 36 to finish the day ahead of 86 other competitors. He'll begin Monday's second round just one stroke behind three players tied for the tournament lead.
Sophomore Trey Rule and junior Hans Reimers each posted 73's and are tied for 16th place while junior James Beale carded a 74 and is tied for 22nd place. Freshman Jeffrey Heinicka signed for a 76 and is tied for 43rd.
"We're off to a lot better start than what we had last week, which is encouraging," Bradley said. "We're paired with Florida State and Kentucky tomorrow, so it should be a fun and challenging day."
Day two of the USF Invitational is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Monday.