A 1-under round of 287 has the WKU Hilltopper Golf team tied for first place with one round to go at Kennesaw State’s Pinetree Intercollegiate.

The Hilltoppers caught fire down the stretch in Monday’s soggy opening round and used that strong finish to pull even with co-leader Southern Illinois at the par-72, 7,108-yard Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw, Ga.

Teams will begin play in Tuesday’s final round at 7 a.m. CT. The tournament was originally scheduled for three rounds but shortened because of expected inclement weather.

The Hilltoppers and SIU are one stroke ahead of third-place Mercer and two shots ahead of fourth-place Wisconsin.

“It was good to see all the guys finish strong today,” WKU head coach Phillip Hatchett said. “The wind was up today and swirling around these trees, but the guys just hung tough. I’m glad to see them have a chance to be near the lead, where we feel we’ve belonged all season along – just maybe missing one or two scores here and there. It’s nice to have an opportunity to see what we can do near the front tomorrow.”

Redshirt junior Billy Tom Sargent is tied for second individually following a 3-under 69 to open play. Sargent tallied five birdies on the day and capped his round with an eagle on the par-5 11th.

That late flurry brought him within three shots of the current leader, Southern Illinois’ Peyton Wilhoit, who shot a 6-under 66.

“I had a double bogey on my third hole, which kind of set me back a bit, but I knew there were plenty of birdie opportunities out here,” Sargent said. “I just kept my mind to it. I started to get a little bit of a rhythm and made a few birdies and then had a really strong finish, going birdie-par-eagle on the last three holes.”

Sargent was just one of several Hilltoppers who made the most of their final holes Monday.

The four WKU golfers who registered scores for the team in the first round went a combined 8 under par over each of their last five holes.

That included redshirt sophomore Linus Lo, who tallied four birdies and five pars over his last nine holes after starting 3 over. He’s tied for eighth after notching a 1-under 71.

Junior Stuart Easton, the reigning Conference USA Golfer of the Week, is one stroke back in 15th place following an even-par 72.

Freshman Chase Landrum started his round 5 over before battling back with two late birdies to card a 75. Landrum notched a 34 on the back nine to help offset a front-side 41, and he’s tied for 26th place. Fellow freshman Crimson Callahan finished with an opening-round 82.

The Hilltoppers are chasing their first team victory since winning the Bobby Nichols Intercollegiate on March 22, 2016.

Pinetree Intercollegiate First Day Results
T2. Billy Tom Sargent (69)
T8. Linus Lo (71)
15. Stuart Easton (72)
T26. Chase Landrum (75)
59. Crimson Callahan (82)

How to follow the Hilltoppers: For complete information on WKU Hilltopper Golf, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUMensGolf.


Zach Greenwell
Associate Director
WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations