Belmont Abbey sophomore Nick Stafford fired a two under par 69-four strokes shy of the course record-to pace the Crusaders men's golf team to third out of 12 teams after the opening round of the Belmont Abbey Invitational.
Belmont Abbey is hosting the two day event at the par 71 Cramer Mountain Club in Cramerton, North Carolina. The Crusaders are hosting a fall tournament for the first time since 2011.
Playing in comfortable temperatures under partly cloudy skies but with wind gusts that slowed the pace of play, only two players posted red numbers. Emmanuel College's Andrew Smith fired a one under 70, only to be bested by Stafford, who was playing in the final group. The Belmont product finished with a 69, just four shots off of the course record that was set over the weekend. Stafford and Smith will make up two thirds of the final group tomorrow.
Limestone posted a 300 to hold a slim one shot lead over Emmanuel. Belmont Abbey is five out of the lead and holds a seven shot edge over Erskine. Belmont Abbey, Emmanuel and Limestone will play in the final group tomorrow.
The final round gets underway tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m.