MANSFIELD, Ohio-- The Big Red men's golf team got off to a solid start at the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Championship from Westbrook Country Club. Through 18 of 54 holes, the Big Red is in fifth place after an opening round 305 (+17). First-place Wittenberg holds a seven-stroke lead over Denison at 298. Kenyon is second at 302 while Ohio Wesleyan and Allegheny are tied for third at 303. Only nine strokes separate first from sixth place.
Denison was led by sophomore Christian Early's two-over-par round of 7 which has him in a tie for ninth place overall. Early went out in 37 and finished with another 37 on the back nine. He carded three birdies on the day. The first came on the 505-yard par-5 fifth hole. The second came on the 379-yard par-4 14th and the last came on the par-4 18th.
Early wasn't the only Denison golfer to birdie No. 18. Nick Brodbeck birdied it to shoot even-par 36 on the back nine. He finished with a 75 which places him 11th on the leaderboard. Knox Montgomery followed with a 77. His 37 on the front nine was highlighted by birdies on No. 5 and No. 7.
DU's fourth score came from first-year Charlie Winkler who fired a 79. Winkler birdied No. 11 and followed that with a double-bogey on No. 12. The rookie responded with a birdie on the par-4 14th and played two-over-par golf over the final five holes to shoot a 38. Denison's fifth score was an 82 from Daniel Hirsh.
The Big Red returns to Westbrook Country Club on Saturday for round two of the NCAC Championship.