MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. - Battling the windy conditions, the North Texas men's golf team shot a 1-under par 287 and are alone in second place, three strokes off the lead after the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship.
The Mean Green is three shots behind clubhouse leader Denver after the opening day after the Pioneers took advantage of ideal conditions in the morning to post a 4-under par 284.
North Texas used a 3-under par round of 69 by Carlos Ortiz and a 1-under par round of 71 by Rodolfo Cazaubon to fight through the windy afternoon conditions. Cazaubon shot a 69 on the course, but was assessed a two-stroke penalty after the round for taking a shuttle ride between holes during the round.
Three North Texas players are in the top-10 as Josh Jones is tied for seventh place at 72. Only six players in the field were under par on the day.
Ortiz is one shot off the lead after just one bogey, two birdies, and an eagle on the day. Ortiz nailed his second shot on the par-5 12th hole to within two feet of the cup for a tap-in eagle to put him under par for the round. He followed that up with another birdie on the par-5 17th hole to move to 3-under par.
Cazaubon had five birdies and one eagle on the day. His eagle came on the 17th hole after his second shot came-up just short of the green on the fringe. Cazaubon would chip the ball in from 40-feet for an eagle.
Jones had a wild round that included an eagle on the par-5 12th hole to begin his back-nine rally. Jones was 2-under par on the final nine-holes to move to post a 72 on the day.
Ty Spinella and Curtis Donahoe both fought their way through conditions to shoot 3-over par 75.
North Texas is three shots behind Denver, four strokes ahead of ULM and six in front of Arkansas State.
The second round begins tomorrow morning at 8:30 with split tees due to the threat of inclement weather. Live stats can be found at www.golfstat.com.